April 22, 2006

Diocese losing advocate for abuse victims

Alameda Times-Star

By Kristin Bender, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND Sister Barbara Flannery the highest-ranking woman at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland and the point person for the diocese's clergy sexual abuse cases is stepping down after 12 years.

Flannery has been chancellor since 1994, and under her leadership the Oakland diocese has been touted nationally as a model for how the church helps victims of sexual abuse and works with priests who stand accused of the crimes.

"She has made such a difference in the diocese," said the Rev. Mark Wiesner, Oakland diocese spokesman, who said the diocese is actively looking for her replacement.

As the chancellor, Flannery personally met many victims of clergy sexual abuse. She helped develop the Ministry for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse, which held a campaign called "No More Secrets," encouraging victims to step forward.

"I know I have helped people, and that has been personally satisfying," she said.

She hopes the work she started will continue.

Posted by kshaw at April 22, 2006 06:33 AM