February 24, 2005

Church knew of pastors sex past

FREMONT (CA)
Oakland Tribune

By Rob Dennis, STAFF WRITER

FREMONT Diocese of Oakland leaders knew the Rev. James Clark was on probation for a felony sex crime when he was promoted to serve as pastor of a Fremont church where he allegedly molested three altar boys in the 1970s, according to court records.

But information about Clark's 1963 arrest and conviction was not included in the personnel file given to attorneys suing the diocese, leading one plaintiff to accuse church officials of covering up the priest's pattern of misconduct.

"It leads one to believe that perhaps the file had been sanitized," said Dan McNevin, who filed a lawsuit along with two other former altar boys of Corpus Christi parish.

They say Clark, who died in 1989, abused them sexually, mentally and emotionally for periods ranging from two years to a decade.

"It appears that virtually since the inception of the diocese (in 1962), church leadership has had a policy of not removing priests guilty of sexual offenses from the ministry," McNevin said.

Posted by kshaw at February 24, 2005 07:26 AM