Catholic Brother Accused of Molesting
S.F. Indictment Alleges 181 Counts from '70s

By Sean Webby and Jessie Seyfer
San Jose Mercury News
September 20, 2002

Police arrested "Brother Sal" at his Redwood City home Thursday, charging the 63-year-old former San Francisco Catholic school teacher with molesting two boys some 30 years ago.

Salvatore Billante, who no longer has any connection with the Corpus Christi School, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday and arrested by San Francisco police investigators in the afternoon.

Billante has been charged with 181 counts of child molestation, according to Mark McNamara of the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Billante was being held on a $10 million warrant, being questioned by investigators Thursday night and was expected to be arraigned Monday morning.

"This is another step in our continuing effort to bring to trial those accused of these most brutal and cynical crimes," said San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan. "I feel strongly that we need to help restore the public trust in religious institutions which have been so undermined by the actions of a few."

This is not the first time Billante has been charged with child molestation. He was the suspect in an infamous series of molestations in the late 1980s. The Salesian brother was sentenced to eight years in prison in 1989 after pleading guilty to one count of lewd and lascivious acts with a boy under the age of 14.

Billante served four years of that sentence.

The latest allegations involve two Bay Area men who came forward this May to say that Billante molested them in the mid-1970s, when they were in their early teens. It was unclear how Billante had access to the boys at that time. Neither McNamara nor the school could say any more than that he had served at the school in several capacities, including involvement in youth activities and sporting events.

Sister Anna Bui, principal of Corpus Christi, which is in the city's Excelsior district, said she didn't know Billante. "He's long gone."

But she said that although the school is not under San Francisco Archdiocese oversight, it would follow its guidelines for reporting sexual abuse.

"We need to follow whatever they tell us to do."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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