Group Raises Awareness about Priest Who Fathered 3 Children

10 News
October 31, 2010

OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- Members of an advocacy group for those abused by priests spoke on Sunday to make the public aware of one cleric that was never prosecuted.

As parishioners sat in church at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oceanside, Paul Livingston, the leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, worked to ensure that they left with more than just the Sunday sermon.

"We are here to make the public aware of a predator priest that worked [at Sacred Heart] and preyed on young women, impregnating them," said Livingston.

The priest is Father Peter Brennan, who appears on a list of documents relating to priest sexual abuse cases that a judge ordered released last week.

Brennan worked at Sacred Heart in the 1960s, but Livingston says damage was still done.

"And I know that you're thinking, 'Well gosh, that's so long ago' but see we've just now received the documents that show that damage was done here," said Livingston. "The bishop hasn't done anything to make right this wrong."

According to the documents, Brennan fathered a child at a La Quinta church in 1988 and fathered another years later in Victorville.

During his tenure, he worked at churches in Lemon Grove, Riverside, El Cajon, Fort Yuma, Upland Big Bear and Redwood City.

Brennan retired in 2003 but not all on the list are retired.

10News traveled to an Ensenada church where Father Gustavo Benson has served for a decade. Benson was charged with molesting two boys and pleaded no contest. In a statement, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Ensenada said, "Father Benson has paid his debt to society. We see no issue with him continuing to serve. We've had no complaints."

However, Livingston, a victim of abuse himself, said there's no healing until priests like Brennan and Benson are brought to justice.

"It's great that they're putting the word out there, but I just don't think that it's the right place," said parishioner Nora Zoma. "After church you want to leave on a happy note. You don't want to leave with a negative."

According to the released documents, Benson and Brennan were among 48 predatory priests affiliated with the San Diego Catholic Diocese.

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