|Clergy-abuse Victims Group Targets Retired Priest
By Keith Reid
July 2, 2010
STOCKTON - A national advocacy group representing clergy-abuse victims is urging the Catholic Diocese of Stockton to post on its website the name of a retired priest who has been documented as a sex offender.
Joey Piscitelli, Northern California director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), passed out fliers Thursday near the Sutter Street apartment of the Rev. Titian "Jim" Miani, a retired priest whose name re-emerged this week after a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit claimed the Vatican overlooked his transgressions and allowed him to abuse children on three different continents.
The suit claims Miani, now in his 80s, began abusing children in Italy in 1947, and that he was shipped by the Vatican to Canada, Brazil and the United States over a three-decade period.
He was assigned to the Stockton diocese and is still listed on its website as a priest assigned to St. Luke's Catholic Church in central Stockton.
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision made it possible for abuse victims to sue the Vatican directly, along with local churches, Piscitelli said.
"He's a documented child abuser; somebody who has abused as many children as he has would be in jail for life," Piscitelli said, adding that SNAP is seeking to have Miani's name and the names of all other diocese clergy members who have been accused of child abuse be available to the public.
Lawsuits have been filed against Miani in regard to the Canada and California cases. In California, Miani victims were awarded $19.5 million by the Salesian Society of Catholic priests in 2008.
The Stockton diocese would not comment on the lawsuit or on Miani's past. However, a church representative made it clear that he is not in a position of authority in Stockton.
"I don't know of anything here, but he certainly cannot operate as a priest. He cannot function as a priest or wear the Roman collar or carry out any of the sacraments," said Sister Terry Davis, a diocese spokeswoman.
Miani did not answer his phone Thursday at the senior citizen's apartment complex where he lives.
Piscitelli expressed anger when he arrived at the Sutter Street units to see a school and a park nearby.
"We believe he is still a major threat to children," Piscitelli said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Keith Reid at (209) 546-8257 or firstname.lastname@example.org Visit his blog at recordnet.com/lodiblog.
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