NBC News [San Francisco, CA]

March 2, 2024

By Candice Nguyen, Michael Bott and Alex Bozovic

An NBC Bay Area investigation into a new wave of lawsuits accusing Catholic clergy of sexually abusing children

The Catholic church is once again being buried in child sex abuse accusations across California. More than 4,000 people are suing Catholic institutions across the state, enabled by a recent law that opened a window for survivors to sue their alleged abusers, no matter how far back their accusations go. Hundreds of Northern California priests are being accused for the first time, including some still working in churches and schools today. NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit dug through the new claims, which suggest the decades-long scandal could go far deeper than the public previously knew.

NBC Bay Area investigates into a new wave of lawsuits accusing Catholic clergy of sexually abusing children.

This page is the culmination of more than four years of reporting by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit. You’ll find profiles on abuse victims we’ve interviewed over the years, responses to the new allegations from local bishops, and links to the stories we’ve published along the way.


Archdiocese of San Francisco:

Diocese of Oakland:

Diocese of Santa Rosa:

Diocese of San Jose:


More than 1,500 people have sued the Catholic church in Northern California since 2020. A similar flood of lawsuits hit the church two decades ago. We’ve interviewed more than a dozen alleged victims, some who came forward long ago, and others now speaking out for the very first time.

Here are some of their stories.

Resources for victims and survivors

If a child is currently in danger, call 9-1-1 or Child Protective Services.

To report past abuse, call your local police department.

The California Attorney General’s Office is conducting an ongoing investigation into accusations of Catholic clergy abuse. Report to the California Attorney General’s Office:

Reach out to advocates with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (additional resources).


JAN 28, 2021. New Sexual Abuse Claims Against Two Oakland Diocese Priests

MAY 11, 2021. One of East Bay’s Longest-Serving Priests Accused of Raping Child Decades Ago

JUN 22, 2022. Dozens of Northern CA Priests Facing Child Sex Abuse Claims for the First Time

JUN 23, 2022. Four Bay Area Priests Still on the Job Despite New Sex Abuse Allegations

SEP 28, 2022. SF Archbishop Cordileone Refusing Major Step Towards Transparency in Widening Sex Abuse Scandal

SEP 29, 2022. Hundreds of Priests With SF Archdiocese Accused of Sexual Abuse

DEC 19, 2022. As New Clergy Victims Come Forward, John Salberg Knows What They’re Going Through

DEC 13, 2022. Advocates Demand Oakland Bishop Add 100+ Priests to List of Alleged Abusers

DEC 2, 2022. Santa Rosa Bishop Announces Bankruptcy Plans as Diocese Hit with Wave of Sex Abuse Claim

DEC 28, 2022. Clergy Abuse Survivors Can Take Decades to Come Forward. Hundreds Are Doing So Now

DEC 30, 2022. Where is Father Castillo? New Answers on Oakland Priest Who Left Country After Abuse Claims

FEB 22, 2023. Church Sex Scandal Widens: Hundreds More Catholic Clergy Accused Across CA

MAY 8, 2023. Diocese of Oakland Files for Bankruptcy in Wake of Hundreds of Sex Abuse Lawsuits

MAY 25, 2023. Accused 2 Decades Ago and Returned to Ministry, SF Priest Faces New Allegations

MAY 26, 2023. ‘We Need to Fix It’: Bay Area Catholics Speak Out About Abuse Scandal 

JUN 20, 2023. Oakland Diocese seeks to seal names of alleged predator priests in bankruptcy case

JUN 30, 2023. 2 active East Bay priests accused in recent child sex abuse suits

JUL 2, 2023. Group protests against accused priest in Orinda

AUG 1, 2023. ‘I lost my childhood’: Church abuse victims face lifetime of trauma

AUG 21, 2023. Archdiocese of San Francisco files for bankruptcy amid child sex abuse lawsuits