Woman Sues Diocese, Claiming Sexual Abuse

By Jason Dearen
Inside Bay Area
November 14, 2006

Oakland — A new sex abuse lawsuit has been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland by a woman who claims a San Leandro-based priest molested her in the 1970s.

The 48-year-old plaintiff, identified in the suit as Jane Roe, claims she was molested by the Rev. Joseph Ferriera at Our Lady of Good Counsel in San Leandro in 1973 and 1974.

"The perpetrator would touch the plaintiff in inappropriate places, including the plaintiff's breasts and buttocks. ... The perpetrator also kissed the plaintiff on the cheeks, french kissed her, and often rubbed his erect penis against her body," the suit states.

The woman claimed the priest warned her not to tell anybody and said to her, "Daddy should never know about the special love we have for each other."

The suit, filed Thursday in Alameda County Superior Court, comes about a year after the Oakland diocese agreed to a $56.4 million global settlement with 56 childhood abuse survivors.

One plaintiff's attorney, Irwin Zalkin of San Diego, said no statute of limitations does not apply to this case because the plaintiff claims Ferreira continued to stalk her throughout the years. "She was scared of this guy. He'd show up to funerals, at supermarkets. He'd just show up," Zalkin said.

The lawsuit states Ferriera forced himself into the plaintiff's life even after she became an adult.

Diocese spokesman the Rev. Mark Weisner could not be reached for comment.


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