Bakersfield church, Fresno Diocese, accused of covering up child sexual abuse claims


January 2, 2020

By Emma Goss

The Diocese of Fresno and St. Philip the Apostle church in Bakersfield are being sued. They’re accused of covering up sexual misconduct by a pastor for decades.

Fr. Anthony Moreno, who served as priest at St. Philip the Apostle from July 1979 to December 1980, is being accused of molesting multiple children, according to a law suit filed in Fresno court this week.

“As a 12 year old, I was confused, and I thought I had done something wrong,” Toni Moreland, a Fresno woman who filed the law suit, said at a press conference Thursday morning. She claims she was molested by Moreno while he was serving as priest in Bakersfield between 1979 and 1980. Her father reported the sexual abuse to the church soon after Moreland claims it happened. By December of 1980 he was moved to serve at Church of the Sacred Heart, in Fresno.

“I think that was the most troubling of all things, was to realize that they just moved Anthony to another parish. I thought that was what just happened to me.” Moreland said.

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