April 06, 2005

Brothers testify in ex-priest's sex abuse trial

The Argus


HAYWARD As his little brother was upstairs being tossed around in a priest's bed, altar boy Bob Thatcher paced back and forth at the foot of the rectory stairs, frightened and bewildered.

He was 10. He had just commanded his 8-year-old brother, Tom Thatcher, to follow the orders of the Rev. Robert Ponciroli and enter the Catholic priest's bedroom.

Bob Thatcher, now 34, testified Tuesday in a civil trial that his younger brother returned from Ponciroli's bedroom a half hour later looking confused and despondent.

"I remember mouthing to (Tom), 'Are you OK?'" Bob Thatcher told jurors Tuesday morning. "He didn't acknowledge me. And then I was summoned up, so I went up."

The two former Antioch brothers are suing the Diocese of Oakland for failing to protect them from Ponciroli's sexual assaults.

Posted by kshaw at April 6, 2005 08:52 AM