Ex-Monsignor O'Shea Sentenced to Four Years for Fraud, Theft

San Francisco Chronicle
February 3, 2004

Former Monsignor Patrick O'Shea was sentenced to four years behind bars today in San Francisco on grand theft and tax fraud charges, capping years of court appearances to answer to molestation charges that were all eventually dropped.

"It's been a very long time," commented O'Shea's attorney Jim Collins, after his client was released on parole for time served already plus an agreement to pay the San Francisco Archdiocese back $187,000 and the state of California any taxes owed on that amount.

O'Shea was arrested in the mid-1990s and accumulated four years' credit behind bars over the years during legal disputes over whether any of the decades-old molestation charges could be pursued despite statute of limitations issues.

The original charges involved 16 counts, later expanded to 224, and nine alleged victims between the years 1964 and 1980. After a judge tossed all pending charges two years ago, the District Attorney's office filed 22 new charges involving another boy in the late 1960s, only to drop them after a key U.S. Supreme Court ruling went against the latest California law applying to such cases.

O'Shea has been out of custody on his own recognizance since last summer.

Now a silver-haired 71-year-old man dressed in a plain brown raincoat, he did not make a presentencing statement to Superior Court Judge Kay Tsenin about his guilty plea to stealing from the Roman Catholic Church's San Francisco Archdiocese and an accompanying tax fraud charge for the year 1993. His attorney said a check for the restitution amount had been handed over this morning.

With a total credit of four years and 33 days served in jail already awaiting a trial that never came, O'Shea today was released to parole that could last up to four years.

The formerly influential cleric turned away from cameras rolling outside Tsenin's courtroom - and past a man named Wayne Presley, who said he was one of the earliest people to come forward in 1994 to charge that O'Shea had molested him while stationed at Mission Dolores and St. Cecilia's Church in the during the early 1970s.

Presley, now 45, said he felt "really sad" to see O'Shea walk out of court today but considers the sentencing worthwhile. "I feel a small piece of justice," he said. "Finally there is a conviction against O'Shea. He's a felon."


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