May 11, 2005

Bishop asks abuse victims to forgive

The Argus


FREMONT Allegations that the late Monsignor Vincent Ignatius Breen molested children while at Holy Spirit Catholic Church were affirmed publicly for the first time Tuesday when the head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland asked for pardon among parishioners.

Bishop Allen Vigneron spoke before about 100 people at the church, begging forgiveness for failures of the parish and diocese to act on reports of misconduct. He also offered support to victims.

"In particular, I come to this church tonight to apologize for the betrayal of your trust by the parish priest, Vincent Breen," Vigneron said.

And to the victims, he said: "I affirm that the shame you feel belongs elsewhere on the shoulders of the abuser."

A police investigation in 1981 found Breen molested at least eight girls, ages 7 to 14. The acts included fondling, French kissing and digital penetration. Breen, who was forced to retire and leave the area to avoid criminal charges, died in 1986.

While some believe Breen who was assigned to Holy Spirit for 29 years might have molested 100 or more girls, other members of the church maintain he is innocent.

Posted by kshaw at May 11, 2005 08:43 AM