Three protesters who demanded fulldisclosure of a sexual abuse complaint from the Diocese of Fresno wereconfronted Monday by diocese school officials who accused them oftrespassing.
The exchange occurred as two San Diego men and aNewport Beach woman campaigned on a public sidewalk outside the dioceseoffices to raise awareness about sexually abused Catholics. The three,who represent the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, werethemselves abused by clergy or parochial schoolteachers.
Thethree said Bishop John Steinbock failed to appropriately address acomplaint of sexual abuse made against Bishop Tod Brown. Brown, whoonce worked for the Fresno Diocese in Bakersfield, was accused in 1997of molesting a boy in the 1960s. He is now the bishop of the Diocese ofOrange.
"This is where the ball was dropped ... We want completedisclosure. We want all the files released and the allegations madepublic," said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, a regional director ofSurvivors Network.
The Fresno Diocese said earlier this month itreceived a letter in 1997 "alleging sexual misconduct" by Brown morethan 40 years ago in Bakersfield.
"Bishop Steinbock promptlyinitiated an investigation into the allegations," diocese spokesman theRev. Jesse Avila said in a statement dated Sept. 13.
Avila said adiocese board found that there "was absolutely no factual or crediblebasis whatsoever to believe that the priest named in the allegationscommitted any misconduct."
The protesters, who had been standingin front of San Joaquin Memorial High School, crossed the street afterthey were told to get off the public sidewalk. School officials alsocalled police, who then questioned the three. They were not arrested.
At one point, Marcus Rodriguez, Memorial's dean of students, asked the three why they are "crying about it" now.
Rodriguezsaid he felt provoked when one of the protesters asked how he wouldfeel if one of his children had been sexually abused by a priest. Hesaid he wasn't trying to be sarcastic but was upset by the question.
"If I said something to offend him, I definitely apologize," he said.
But the protesters said they were appalled by his comments.
"That's what you call revictimizing a victim," said Paul Livingston, 42, of San Diego.
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