Priest Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed in Fresno

By Dennis Hart
April 7, 2010

Another scanmdal involving alleged sexual abuse by a Catholic priest may soon unfold in the Valley.

The details are in a lawsuit that has been filed against the Fresno Catholic diocese.

That lawsuit alleges that Father Hermy Dave O. Ceniza molested a teenage boy at St. Francis Church in Bakersfield around 1991.

The alleged victim's lawyer said the boy -- who is now 35 and identified only as "Joe Doe" -- tried to stop the abuse, but the priest "began stalking him, like banging on his door and stating that he was going to kill himself if the sex abuse victim did not have sex with him," said Joe George, the victim's Sacramento lawyer.

George told KMJ News the boy called Fresno church officials, and that Bishop John Steinbock drove to Bakersfield to meet the youngster.

George said Steinbock told the boy that that Hermy Dave would no longer be a priest and would no longe have access to children.

Father Hermy Dave never appeared at St. Francis again, but the victim has just discovered that Hermy Dave has not been defrocked, and is in the Philippines, where he still has access to children.

That lawsuit alleges sexal abuse and a cover-up.


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