April 12, 2005

Oakland Diocese leaders detail sex abuse policies

Contra Costa Times

By Randy Myers

HAYWARD - The bishop and the chancellor of the Oakland Diocese told jurors Monday that a new approach to handling clergy sex-abuse claims ensures that past mistakes won't be repeated.

"We are trying to make amends for the past and make sure wrongs aren't done again," said Bishop Allen Vigneron in court.

He and Sister Barbara Flannery, the diocese's chancellor, detailed for a jury of 10 women and two men the diocese programs available to survivors.

The aid, coupled with the diocese's policy of putting accused clerics on leave pending a review board investigation, helps create a swifter and safer environment, they said.

The diocesan leaders testified in the church's defense against a civil lawsuit brought by two former Antioch altar boys who say now-defrocked priest Robert Ponciroli abused them.

The Thatchers said they were sexually molested while serving at St. Ignatius Church from 1979 to 1981.

Posted by kshaw at April 12, 2005 07:02 AM