Oakland priest ousted for alleged ‘boundary violations’ with man

San Francisco Chronicle

December 24, 2020

By Megan Cassidy

A Catholic priest has been stripped of his position in Oakland following allegations of “boundary violations with an adult man,” according to officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland.

The Rev. Jeffrey J. Finley, a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in the Diocese of Oakland, will remain a Catholic priest but “cannot function as a priest in the Diocese of Oakland by celebrating the sacraments,” according to the Catholic Voice, the diocese’s official publication.

Church officials said the alleged violation occurred in 2000 and was reported to the Diocese in September.

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland in 2019 released the names of 45 clergymen and religious brothers they said were “credibly accused” of molesting minors, one of several dioceses to do so amid decades of scandals involving abusive priests and church cover-ups.

However the list still does not include some of the men accused more recently. One of those missing from the list is Father Alex Castillo, who was placed on administrative leave after allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor, and later fled the country.

Church officials said while Finley has not had an official appointment in the diocese in nearly a decade, he has assisted with duties at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City.

Finley’s previous assignments included St. Edward Parish in Newark from 1990 to2004 and as chaplain at Washington Hospital in Fremont from 2004 to 2011. He had most recently been working as a civilian in the Palliative Care Unit of Washington Hospital, officials said.

The removal came after an internal investigation and at the direction of Bishop Michael Barber. The diocesan Review Board upheld Barber’s decision, officials said.

Finley is at least the fifth Oakland priest to be removed from his post in recent years, according to a review by the advocacy group SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The group criticized the Diocese of Oakland for its vague description of the allegations and Finley’s work history and called on local or state law enforcement to independently investigate the claims.

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