Protesters urge local dioceses to acknowledge sexual abuse victims
April 26, 2016
OAKLAND (BCN) — A small group of protesters today urged Catholic Church officials in the Bay Area to reach out to anyone who may have been abused by priests after two priests who previously worked in the region were recently accused of sexually abusing children.
Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests organized the protest, which took place outside of The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.
The group is asking Oakland Bishop Michael Barber, San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath and San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to acknowledge victims of sexual abuse in light of new allegations in lawsuits filed against two priests who previously worked in the Bay Area.
In February, the Rev. Emmerich Vogt, who has worked at several churches and organizations in both Oakland and San Francisco since the 1970s, including Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, was accused of sexual abuse by an Oregon man.
The victim, who was 10 years old at the time, said the alleged abuse took place in 1987 when he served as an altar boy.
Similarly, in March a Texas man accused the Rev. Milton Eggerling, who has since passed away, of abusing him when he was 11 years old in the 1970s. Eggerling also worked for several churches and organizations in San Leandro, Oakland and Palo Alto, according to the group.
“We are hoping that the bishops will reach out to the parishes where these priests served and let them know these lawsuits have been filed, so if there are any victims, they’ll know that they’re not the only ones,” SNAP East Bay director Melanie Sakoda said.
Additionally, the group wants the three local dioceses to post a list of priests who have served in the San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco dioceses and have been either been convicted of, sued for, or admitted to child abuse.
“Even if the priest is no longer in the parish or if he’s deceased, the names need to be revealed for the sake of the victims, who may be suffering in silence,” Sakoda said.
SNAP San Francisco director Tim Lennon said a priest abused him as a child and although it was difficult to admit, he said he wants to make sure what happened to him never happens to another child.
“When you’re a child abuse survivor, you’re injured for your whole life,” Lennon said. “At the time, I couldn’t do anything. Now I can. This is my way of fighting back.”
Mike Brown, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, said although he was aware of the demonstration held today, SNAP hasn’t reached out to the church and hasn’t provided them with any information regarding the group’s demands.