Bishop Plans to Visit Fremont Parish to Apologize
Service to Be Held Wednesday at Our Lady of Guadalupe

By Melissa Evans
Oakland Tribune [Fremont CA]
Downloaded June 1, 2004

FREMONT -- Bishop Allen Vigneron will visit the Tri-City area this week to apologize for the harm caused by priests who abused children in the 1970s.

A service has been set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church, a Fremont parish that has been hit hard by the priest abuse scandal.

Former priest Stephen Kiesle, who pleaded guilty to 11 counts of child molestation in Alameda County, served at Santa Paula Parish before it merged with St. Leonard's Parish and later assumed the name Our Lady of Guadalupe. Former priest Robert Freitas allegedly molested a boy at Santa Paula Parish in 1979.

Kiesle also served at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Union City, another parish on Vignernon's list of 14 churches he plans to visit this year to apologize to victims and the community.

A date has not been set yet for the Union City service.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland notified many of the victims through their attorneys, officials said. Attorney Robert Luis Vanblois, who is representing six people with complaints against Kiesle, said he passed the information along to his clients.

"Whatever helps everybody get through this is fine by me," said Vanblois, who also won a roughly $17 million settlement against Freitas and the diocese on behalf of Mark Bogdanowicz, a former Santa Paula parishioner.

Vigneron already has visited St. Bede's Catholic Church in Hayward, where the services were extremely emotional, according to reports. Diocese officials have said they hope the services help victims and the community heal from the pain caused by priests.


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