March 18, 2006

Diocese looks into claims against priest

Contra Costa Times

By Bruce Gerstman

The Oakland Diocese is investigating a Walnut Creek priest accused of sexually abusing a minor in a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the Franciscan Friars of California that was tentatively settled this week.
According to court documents, Christopher Berbena, a hospital chaplain based at St. John Vianney Catholic Church on Ygnacio Valley Road, molested a boy in 1980 at a Santa Barbara Catholic school. The complaint also names more than 40 other clergymen and others who worked for the religious organizations.
"I haven't heard much about (the lawsuit)," Berbena said by phone Friday, declining to comment further.
The alleged victim, identified in the lawsuit as "Robert O.," is among 25 plaintiffs who are finalizing a settlement with the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the Franciscan Friars in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Posted by kshaw at March 18, 2006 07:15 AM