February 18, 2005

Bishop apologizes for priest abuse

San Luis Opisbo Tribune

Associated Press

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. - Bishop Allen Vigneron once again apologized Thursday night for the actions of a priest who is accused of sexually abusing altar boys at five East Bay churches.

"I apologize to, and ask the pardon of the parish community of Our Lady of Grace, for the acts of clerical sexual abuse of minors that occurred here," Vigneron said. "In particular, I come to this church tonight to apologize for the betrayal of your trust by Robert Ponciroli. For all of this, I ask your pardon."

Vigneron, who became bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oakland in October 2003, visited churches in Antioch, Byron, Oakland and Richmond last year to publicly apologize for the Rev. Robert Ponciroli's "clerical misconduct."

Vigneron delivered his latest apology at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Castro Valley, where Ponciroli worked from 1975 to 1979.

A former altar boy at the church is one of eight boys from the two counties who have sued the diocese, saying they were molested by the now-retired priest.

Elisa Uribe of Castro Valley, a longtime member of the church, praised Vigneron for the apology.

Posted by kshaw at February 18, 2005 04:09 AM