Local Consultant Named in Sex Abuse Scandal

Sonoma News
January 25, 2005

A news story published Sunday in the Contra Costa Times regarding a former Christian Brother who allegedly molested students at De La Salle High School, and for which the religious order paid a $6.2 million settlement last month, has a Sonoma Valley connection.

The Times article reported that in 1980-81 Joe Gutierrez, a former De La Salle teacher and a licensed therapist at St. Mary's College, allegedly plied at least three students with drugs and sexually abused them. The Times reported that Gutierrez has changed his name to Jesse Gutierrez-Cervantes and lives in Sonoma. A Web search reveals that Gutierrez-Cervantes is listed as a "co-founder" of Cor Communications, "...a consulting and training company specializing in Diversity Training and Communication Skills." It claims to work with global organizations, teams and individuals, helping them to be successful by enhancing their relationship skills and strategies. The local address for the organization is given as 19197 Twin Oaks Lane. Even though the Twin Oaks address is listed on the Web site, according to the Times the address is now 127 Bear Flag Road.

News organizations in the area also received an e-mail news release Monday from Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). In that release, David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, and Danny McNevin, Bay Area SNAP director, publicly urged Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel Walsh (whose jurisdiction includes Sonoma Valley) "to put notices in church bulletins, the diocesan newspaper and on the diocesan Web site, urging victims of Gutierrez to come forward." In their letter to Bishop Walsh, the SNAP spokesmen said, "This dangerous man still walks the streets, children are still vulnerable and parents are still unaware of his crimes. That should weigh heavily on your conscience."

McNevin told the Index-Tribune Monday that of the thousands of clerics who have been accused of molesting, "...he (Gutierrez) is one of the worst. He plied kids with drugs and now he is selling himself as a consultant on relationships and sexual abuse. That's like the pot calling the kettle black."

McNevin added, "Helping those who have been severely hurt and are still hurting is important. But helping to prevent future abuse is more important. And unless church officials tell us who the molesters are, families are very vulnerable."

The bishop could not be reached for comment Monday.

Attorney Lawrence Drivon, who represented Bill Lopes and Chris Barbour, two of the De La Salle High School victims in the case, said Monday that he is concerned that Gutierrez-Cervantes could use his current consulting practice to gain access to other potential victims.

According to the Times, Christian Brothers officials refused to be interviewed for its story, and had its public relations firm issue a statement, part of which read, "The complaints stem from alleged incidents of sexual misconduct that occurred more than 20 years ago....none of the alleged perpetrators is currently involved in any of the schools affiliated with the San Francisco District..."

Another local connection includes Hanna Boys Center, where Gutierrez took a contract job as a psychologist after leaving the Christian Brothers order in the mid-1980s.

He worked at Hanna from 1984 to 1986, and according to the Times report, allegedly molested one child and "...had inappropriate sexual conduct with a 21-year-old adult counselor."

According to Father John Crews, director of Hanna Boys Center, once the conduct was discovered, Gutierrez was fired, and the abuse claim from the counselor was settled.

The Index-Tribune attempted to contact Gutierrez-Cervantes at his business phone number, but his voice message indicated he was on vacation until mid-February and would not be checking his messages.

Attempts to contact other associates of his at Cor Communications were not successful.


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