Lawsuit Filed, Now Priests' Addresses Requested

By Sue Nowicki
Modesto Bee
July 2, 2010

A victims group on Thursday asked the Catholic Stockton Diocese to list its pedophile priests and their current places of residence. Sister Terry Davis, diocese spokeswoman, said Bishop Stephen Blaire is considering the idea.

The request from Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests came on the heels of a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles against a former priest in the diocese, the Rev. Titian (James) Miani, a native of Italy who lives in Stockton.

He served in Italy, Brazil, Canada and California dioceses in Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco, Oakland and Stockton. Within the Stockton diocese, he served in Angels Camp, Murphys and Arnold.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a California man who said Miani abused him while he was a student at a Catholic school in the 1960s, names his former priestly order, the Salesian Society, and the Vatican, claiming officials at both covered up the abuse by shuffling Miani among three continents over three decades.

Miani, 83, came to the Stockton Diocese in 1972. He retired because of health reasons in 1993, but continued working as a supply priest until he was removed from his priestly duties by Blaire in 2002.

Miani never was accused of abuse in the Stockton Diocese, Sister Davis said, adding that the diocese didn't know about past abuse until 2002. That's the year "credible evidence" arose that Miani had abused two girls in the Los Angeles Diocese in the 1960s.

When that evidence came to light, Blaire removed Miani and sent a message to the priest's former parishes, inviting anyone with allegations of abuse to notify the diocese. No one did.

No criminal charges

Miani was arrested in 2003, but the case was dropped because of a state Supreme Court ruling that determined it was too late to press criminal charges against him.

A civil lawsuit was filed in January 2008, charging him with molesting 17 boys at St. John Bosco High School in a Los Angeles suburb in the 1960s. The lawsuit was settled when the Salesians agreed to pay $19.5 million.

Miani's personnel file, partially disclosed in Los Angeles Superior Court during the 2008 case, said he was accused of assaulting a boy on a church retreat in Italy in 1947. After he was transferred to a Salesian Society boys home in Edmonton, Canada, three students claimed he was a sexual molester.

Sister Davis said earlier abuse allegations were not passed on to succeeding dioceses, and his frequent transfers did not necessarily signal abuse. "It is helpful to understand that international religious communities commonly have a practice of moving their members frequently and to different countries. This is not indicative of a troubled past," she said.

About 24 other U.S. dioceses list pedophile priest information, Sister Davis confirmed. Miani's last parish was St. Luke's in Stockton. He has not undergone any treatment for pedophilia while in the diocese as far as officials know, she added.



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