In Search of aConfession
A CBS 2 Special Assignment Report

By Joel Grover
May 3, 2002 (Originally aired May 1, 2002, at 11 p.m.)

In a CBS 2 exclusive investigation, Joel Grover tracks down and confronts a priest who is being accused of molestation by eight alleged victims who say they were forced to have sex with him.

CBS 2 traveled thousands of miles to find this priest, who some say is in hiding.

Joel Grover: "Did you ever have sex with altar boys?

Priest: "No?"

JG: "You swear to God?"

Priest: "Yes, I do."

His name is Father Fidencio Silva. In the early 80s, he was priest at our Lady of Guadelupe Church in Oxnard, Calif., and he was in charge of the altar boys.

Joel Grover to the victims: "Were you all abused?"


They are now police officers, businessmen, a graduate student ...

They say that Father Silva molested them when they were boys, then suddenly he disappeared one day from their church.

But now, we've found him, 2000 miles away, in the tiny Mexican village of Jesus Maria, working as a priest.

We confronted him with the former altar boys' accusations.

JG: "Did you ever touch their private parts?"

Priest: "Not that I remember."

JG: "What do you mean you don't remember?"

Priest: "In the sense, I didn't, no. No I didn't."

Victim: "He had me drop my pants. He traced his finger around my circumcision scar."

Another victim: "He would massage my penis over and over again."

And they say it gets worse ...

JG to priest: "These boys say you had sex with them."

Priest: "No."

JG: "Oral sex?"

Priest: "No."

JG: "Anal sex?"

Priest: "No."

JG: "You swear to God?"

Priest: "I swear to God."

JG: "That's a lie."

Victim: "He masturbated me, had oral sex with me, sodomized me."

They say it happened in the church rectory, and on out-of-state trips.

Victim: "I went to his room to visit him, and he asked me to drop my pants, then he asked me to masturbate him."

And there's more ...

Joel Grover to the Father Silva: "Did you ever take photographs of these boys naked?"

Priest: "No."

JG: "You're positive?"

Priest: "Naked, you mean without any clothes?"

Victim: "He was going to paint a risen Christ and he needed to see some anatomy. He took pictures of my penis, and then he told me, 'Now I need to take pictures of an erect.'"

The more we spoke, the more Father Silva seemed to avoid our questions.

JG: "Did you ever touch the naked body of an altar boy?"

Priest: "What do you mean by naked?"

JG: "What do you mean?"

Priest: "No, what do you mean?"

In the end, Silva says the accusations are lies.

JG: "So why are these boys saying these things?"

Priest: "I don't know and that hurts me a lot to know this."

Finally, the Father asked us to go, leaving his alleged victims waiting for answers.

Victim: "I hate him for what he did to us. I hate him for what he did to me. I hate him because he took away my religion."

Thursday, the eight alleged victims sued Father Silva in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages. The suit also names Cardinal Roger Mahony and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The archiodiocese had no comment on the lawsuit.

However, a spokesman for the archdiocese tells us it was aware of a charge of sexual misconduct against Silva back in 1995. Father Silva's order, the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, tells us at the time, it sent him to counseling, and relocated him to Mexico.


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