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  Admitted Sex Offender Priests Named in Oakland Seminary

KGO-TV
April 6, 2005

Apr. 6, 2005 (ABC7) KGO-TV — The ABC7 I-Team has uncovered information that some East Bay residents want - the names, pictures, and histories of Catholic priests who admit sexually abusing children. All seven of the men are living at a seminary in an upscale neighborhood of Oakland.

Officials at the St. Albert's seminary have refused to provide the names and pictures, even though neighbors have been demanding them since the ABC7 I-Team revealed in November that seven admitted sex offenders are living here.

The I-Team investigation four months ago caused uproar in the Rockridge neighborhood. We revealed that the Dominican order has moved six priests and one brother who admit sexual misconduct with minors into St. Albert's seminary and a house nearby.

Father Roberto Corral is head of the Dominican's western province.

Father Roberto Corral, Dominican western province: "These guys have been through their therapy, and working with their counselors and therapists. We are reasonably sure they will not re-offend."

The neighbors were shocked the Dominicans didn't warn them ahead of time. They demanded more information to help protect the children who live on the block and go to the surrounding schools.

The Dominicans held a neighborhood meeting -- no media or activists allowed.

Jerry Ratch, neighbor: "So I asked a logical question: 'How many of them are repeat offenders?' I was shocked to hear him say, 'I think it was three.'"

The meeting at St. Albert's raised more questions than it answered.

Alice Chegia, neighbor: "The biggest concern for me is I don't know who these individuals are. I need to be able to take my daughter and say, 'Do you see this individual, do you see this one, do you see this one? Stay away from these creeps, you ever see them, you cross the street and go the other way.'"

The I-Team can now reveal their names, some of their faces, and their histories. We've been combing court documents and Dominican records and interviewing current and former St. Albert's personnel.

Name Withheld, former seminarian: "I met all of them, spoke with all of them, shared meals with them."

This former seminarian says he quit the Dominican order in large part because of a meeting in 2002, when St. Albert's officials revealed their plan to move sex offenders in.

First to arrive, forty-year-old Roberto Bravo.

Name Withheld, former seminarian: "We were told about Father Bravo, that he was guilty of sexual misconduct with minors. And he emphasized the 's,' the plural."

Bravo worked at Antioch's Holy Rosary Church in 1999, when police investigated a complaint that he inappropriately touched six teenage girls. Detectives sent the case to prosecutors, but it fell apart when the girls refused to testify.

Next, the Dominicans sent Bravo to the Newman Center in Salt Lake City to work with students from the University of Utah. Father Corral told us Bravo had similar problems with teenage girls there.

When asked if he had any responsibility to report the incidents to police, Father Roberto Corral said, "No."

The Dominicans brought Father Bravo back to the Bay Area and placed him at St. Dominic's Church and School in San Francisco, before sending him to St. Albert's in the spring of 2002. Since then, neighbors have seen Bravo coming and going freely.

Annette Floystrup, neighbor: "Who knows what he was doing? He wasn't supervised by anyone, no one was following him, no one was monitoring him."

Most of the priests who admit sexual misconduct arrived at St. Albert's in 2003. Seventy-one-year-old Terence Reilly is called a serial pedophile in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles superior court against the archdiocese. He's accused of molesting three boys in the mid-1970's. He moved to Saint Dominic's in San Francisco ten-years ago, then to a house near the seminary.

Father Corral says it's been several years since sixty-five-year-old Dominic de Domenico fell in love and ran away with a seventeen-year-old girl. He worked at Holy Rosary Church in Antioch, and Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara. He taught the rosary to the Montessori kindergarten class.

Seventy-seven-year-old Leo Tubbs also worked at Holy Rosary in Antioch, then in Oregon before being placed under restrictions at the seminary because he had sexually abused a boy. The head of the province now admits Tubbs traveled unescorted to Bangkok, Thailand about a year ago.

Neighbors were not satisfied with Father Corral's explanation at the meeting in December.

Alice Chegia, neighbor: "The priest kind of abruptly jumped up and said, 'Wait a minute! That was an unauthorized trip, and he's under severe restriction, and we're working to make sure that doesn't happen again.' And the whole crowd went, 'Uh-h-h!'"

Father Roberto Corral, Dominican western province: "My experience, most of these guys are delightful men. Again, we're all imperfect and they simply happen to have done something that was very foolish at one point in their lives."

Corral says 69-year-old Mark O'Leary received intense therapy after sexually abusing boys in southern California. He came to Holy Rosary Church in Antioch in the early '90's. Then, O'Leary served as chaplain at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital while living at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Berkeley.

Sixty-six-year-old Edmund Ryan worked in southern California and Oregon. He was sent to Oakland after abusing a boy.

Same story with seventy-five-year-old Brother Peter Yost. He was in charge of maintenance at St. Dominic's in San Francisco before arriving at St. Albert's seminary.

The ABC7 I-Team asked Jane Brunner of the Oakland city council how forthcoming St. Albert's has been with information? Her response: "Very little."

Oakland City Councilwoman Jane Brunner has been pushing the Dominicans for information about the seven admitted sex offenders, beyond what ABC7 has been able to piece together.

Jane Brunner, Oakland city council: "The main thing we want to find out for all seven is what actually was the sexual offense that they committed, and how long ago it was."

St. Albert's is still refusing to provide that sort of detail.

The ABC7 I-Team wants to emphasize that these seven men have not been convicted of anything. But Father Corral tells us the order has paid money to most of the victims and provided counseling

 
 

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