March 03, 2005

As trials near, talks pick up in church sex scandal

San Francisco Chronicle

Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

Thursday, March 3, 2005

It has been nearly 11 years since San Francisco police told Roman Catholic Church leaders that Monsignor Patrick O'Shea, one of the city's most politically connected Catholic priests, faced multiple allegations of child sexual abuse.

That police notification -- on March 10, 1994 -- set off a pedophilia scandal that could soon cost the Catholic Church in the Bay Area more than $100 million.

O'Shea, now 72, has been jailed, released, defrocked, convicted of embezzling church funds, jailed again, released again and repeatedly sued over the past decade. Dozens more Northern California priests have been accused of child sexual abuse and removed from public ministry.

The ultimate cost of the abuse scandal hinges on settlement negotiations being held this week at the Concord Convention Center. Pushing the talks are trial dates Monday for lawsuits against the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which includes Marin and San Mateo counties, and the Diocese of Oakland, made up of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Posted by kshaw at March 3, 2005 07:24 AM