|Alleged Sexual Abuse Victim Identified
By Tiffany Revelle
June 6, 2008
LAKE COUNTY — Tracy resident Christopher Griego filed a complaint alleging sexual abuse by the Rev. Ted Oswald known informally as "Father Ted" with the Sonoma County Superior Court in September 2007, according to court records.
The Santa Rosa Diocese and Lake County District Attorney's Office are investigating the allegations of a complaint alleging that the abuse happened between 1988 and 1995.
The diocese has 30 days to respond to a civil suit filed against Oswald and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Santa Rosa Daniel Walsh, according to the diocese's attorney Dan Galvin. It was amended May 5, 2008 to name Oswald and Walsh as defendants.
"The plaintiff alleges that he was an altar boy," Galvin said.
Santa Rosa Diocese spokeswoman Deirdre Frontczak said Oswald began his service at St. Mary Immaculate in 1988 after four years at St. Mary of the Angels in Ukiah.
Oswald is on administrative leave from his service at St. Mary Immaculate in Lakeport as of May 2, according to Frontczak. Oswald served as pastor at the church for more than 20 years, she said. Oswald is also on leave from his chaplain posts at the Lakeport Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
Oswald denied the allegations before the Santa Rosa Diocese's review board earlier this week, according to Frontczak.
"We invited the claimant to come to the review board, and we haven't heard back yet about whether they want
to do that or not," Frontczak said.
Richard Jay Simons of the Hayward law firm Furtado, Jaspovice & Simons is representing Griego. Simons did not return calls from the Record-Bee as of press time Thursday.
A clerk at St. Mary Immaculate said no information was available at this time and hung up on a Thursday call from the Record-Bee.
"I have no reason to believe that (the allegations). If I have to, I'll go to the DA's office there's no way, not Father Ted," Upper Lake resident Lisa Alotta said when she learned of the allegations.
Kelseyville resident Peter Wilson was an alter boy at St. Mary Immaculate between 1990 and 1995.
"I never experienced any inappropriate behavior on the part of Father Ted," Wilson said. He added that he knew the Rev. Patrick Zeiman, who he said was accused of embezzlement.
"He seemed like a very caring individual. I never would have assumed that he was misappropriating funds form the church," Wilson said.
Oswald was ordained in Rome in 1984, according to Frontczak. He earned a Master of Divinity at Pontificio Collegio San Beda in Rome, worked as a police officer between 1970 and 1975 for the Rock Hill Police Department in South Carolina and served in the Army Military Police Corp. between 1967 and 1970, according to biographical information found at www.lakesheriff.com.
Oswald is the 21st Catholic priest in the diocese to be accused of sexual misconduct since the diocese was founded in 1962, according to Frontczak. In the last 10 years, she said just less than $25 million has been paid in settlements of six cases.
Contact Tiffany Revelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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