May 26, 2005

Berkeley priest cleared of sex abuse charges

By Martin Snapp

Contra Costa Times


Father George Crespin, the longtime priest at St. Joseph the Worker Church who took early retirement in February after being accused of sexual abuse, has been cleared of all charges by a formal review authorized by Oakland Diocese Bishop Allen Vigneron.

The Catholic Voice, the official publication of the diocese, reported that parishioners at St. Joseph gave Crespin a standing ovation when he returned to work last Saturday. He expressed his relief and joy at returning to active ministry. Since the allegation was made, he has been unable to celebrate Mass or perform other priestly duties.

"We're very grateful that this process is completed," said Father Jayson Landeza, who has been acting administrator at the parish during Crespin's absence. "We at St. Joseph had confidence that the process would exonerate him."

Crespin was unavailable for comment, but Landeza said the retired pastor planned to stay in residence at St. Joseph. Since he was removed from ministry, the parish has rallied around him and held a town hall meeting with diocesan representatives Feb. 15, where they expressed their grief at his sudden departure.

Posted by kshaw at May 26, 2005 03:45 PM