Guest Blog: the Salesians: Record Holder Pedophiles, by Joey Piscitelli

City of Angels
October 18, 2007

"The Salesians fight every victim tooth and nail, an utter disgrace to all Catholics."

(Editor's Note: Civil cases involving the Salesians Religious Order were not part of the $660 million settlement in LA last July. Jury trials on calendar so far regarding Salesians: Nov. 5 cases involving Father Titian Miani; January 28th cases involving former priest, Jesus Dominguez. Attorneys meet this morning for a status conference on cases involving Brother Ernie Martinez.)

By Joey Piscitelli

There is no Catholic Order's abuse record that I know of that comes close to the Salesians of California. The record number of accused and convicted sex abusers from Salesians of California is by far the largest, and the longest list in the state. In addition, there is no Catholic Order that I know of that fights victims so vehemently and apparently as hatefully as the Salesians based in California.

I attended Salesians School in Richmond California and was molested by the Vice Principal of the school, Fr. Steve Whelan. About the same time period, Fr. Bernard Dabbenne was made principal of the school, even after a complaint was made that Dabbenne was an abuser. Dabbenne was later convicted of child molestation in San Francisco. An administrator of the same school, Fr. Richard Presenti, an accused serial molester, and an admitted molester, was later made principal of a Salesian School, even after the Salesians knew Presenti was a molester. Bro. Sal Billante, head of the Boys club at the school, was also a serial molester, and was later convicted, and was later to spend several years in San Quentin.

Accused multiple serial molester, Fr. Jim Miani, also present at the same Salesian school, has an ongoing lawsuit in Los Angeles. Fr. Larry Lorenzoni, yet another accused Salesian serial molester, was accused by a student of the school as far back as the early 1960s. Lorenzoni has several accusers dating back decades. Bro. Ernie Martinez, another administrator of the school, was also accused and named in a suit. Another local Salesian, Fr. Harold Danielson, was additionally named in a lawsuit as an abuser. Sam Vitone, a history teacher at the school, was also accused of molestation, and named in a civil lawsuit, that went to court last year. Fr. Al Mengon, of the same school, was named as a sex abuser in 2 depositions filed last year.

As remarkable as this seems, many of these accused and convicted Salesian priests roomed with each other at the Salesian residence at the school grounds, and none of them admit to knowing anything about each others' molestation histories. Of course, this is no surprise.


Many victims and lawyers refer to the Salesians of this group as a "nest of pedophiles" and understandably so. The "ring leader" of most of this "nest" or group, Fr. David Purdy, was accused in court papers last year of trying to talk me into suicide when I was a minor at the school. Imagine the horror of being molested at Salesians as a child, and having to face Fr. Purdy!

Fr. Purdy is currently the Salesian "Provincial", (ringleader), and had the audacity to list not too long ago, on the Salesian Provincial website, several accused Predators from the "nest," including admitted and convicted molesters!

Fr. Purdy also stated in a press conference that the Salesians do all they can to help and provide for victims of Salesian priests. I know of no victims of Salesian priests that Fr,. Purdy is helping, or providing for, and letters to Purdy to address this issue have never been answered.

The Salesians fight every victim that I know of tooth and nail, and show no reservation about how much money they will spend. I believe their strategy is to show all victims and their lawyers that they cannot be beaten, irrespective of whether or not they have so many known serial pedophiles on their rosters.

This tactic is most probably meant to keep all victims silent, and shows no remorse, or care for the uncounted children whom the Salesians have violated.

It is inconceivable that "God" would approve of the Salesians despicable molestation record, and the horrible way they continue to abuse their victims in the legal arena, but I seriously doubt the Salesians have given any consideration to this reasoning, and their actions in court prove this point.

This is very evident at present in the ongoing Salesian battles with their victims in Southern California. This shameful, and hateful fight that the Salesians continue to spew at their victims is an utter disgrace to all Catholics, and especially to the victims of their predators. I have met many Salesian victims whose lives have been destroyed, and the Salesians have shown them no remorse whatsoever. On the contrary, they have repeatedly thrashed the victims of their abuse, and the victims' families, knowing full well the vulgar records of their nest of pedophiles.

No other Catholic Order I have known is as relentless and unremorseful, with such callous disregard for the damage they have caused.

One would imagine that God himself would intervene, but perhaps the Salesians have been successful in keeping him quiet too.

(Joey Piscitelli, veteran advocate for priest sex crime victims, won his civil case against the Salesians in 2006, in San Francisco. The Salesians appealed and then got an extension on the appeal. Piscitelli's case is still not resolved.)


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