July 20, 2020
We are very grateful to the survivors who have come forward to accuse Fr. Varghese “George” Alengadan of sexual assault and harassment. We also want to thank Alameda County DA Nancy O’Malley and her staff for investigating the allegations and filing charges. We believe that the only way to clean up the Catholic Church is for secular authorities to lead the charge.
Fr. Alengadan remains a powerful priest and we have no doubt that his influence and popularity may inhibit other victims from speaking up. We encourage any survivors and witnesses to contact law enforcement immediately. The DA’s number is 510-272-6222. Reports can also be made to the California Attorney General’s office.
The assault for which Fr. Alengadan is being charged would not have occurred had the Oakland Diocese responded appropriately to the 2002 report made by a young bride-to-be who was also assaulted by the clergyman. Inaction following allegations is all too common in the Catholic Church and is part of the “playbook” uncovered by the Grand Jury in Pennsylvania. Similar tactics were used across the bay at Presentation High School in San Jose. A recently issued report from Presentation laid bare abuse and cover-up at this school in the San Jose Diocese. The investigation spanned a period of 40 years, involved dozens of victims, and exposed five accused teachers and one accused coach.
There is much more for the Oakland Diocese to do in the case of Fr. Alengadan. The cleric was a close associate of Oakland’s Bishop, serving on his personnel board and receiving a “priest of the year” award in 2017. We believe that honor was a slap in the face to survivors. In 2016 the Oakland Diocese received a second report about Fr. Alengadan ‘s 2002 assault on the bride-to-be, this time from her mother. That email was also ignored. To us, it almost seems that the award was meant to show the family that their reports meant nothing.
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