May 09, 2005

Ultimate confession of late pastor's sins

The Argus


EDITOR'S NOTE: The information in this story was gathered from interviews, police reports, court records, books, newspaper articles and other documents. The names of victims and those who reported the abuse have been withheld. The Diocese of Oakland has acknowledged that the late Monsignor Vincent Breen molested children.

FREMONT THE RUMORS SWIRLED around Holy Spirit parish for years, blasphemous, unthinkable and largely ignored.

Monsignor Vincent Ignatius Breen had a shady reputation that emerged in snatches and whispers. For much of his 29-year tenure at the church and school, the allegations faded into the ether.

Girls who complained to school officials that their pastor kissed them and fondled their breasts were told to "say no" to the priest or to tell their parents despite state child-abuse reporting laws that required police be told.

Meanwhile, the abuse continued in the rectory; on the schoolyard; in Breen's bedroom, where he kept a small trampoline for some of the girls to jump on while they were being fondled, according to police reports. He liked to take "modeling photographs" of the girls and invented little games where he would kiss them five times for every $5 bill they found when they were counting church money.

Posted by kshaw at May 9, 2005 10:19 AM