Former Fresno Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse

By Alexandra Limon
CBS 47
August 17, 2011

A 47 page lawsuit was filed by a 23-year-old San Jose man who claims he was sexually abused by father Don Flickinger ten years ago.

Tuesday, a group called SNAP or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests handed out flyers to parishioners outside St. John's Cathedral in Fresno. Freddy Cabata was one of them, "I don't think it's the church's fault that they have a man like that serving underneath the church," he said.

Father Don Flickinger worked at San Joaquin Memorial High in Fresno in the 1960's. According to this lawsuit that was filed August 9th in San Francisco, the Fresno diocese transferred him after they learned of the allegations.

"First to San Jose and then up to San Francisco to a parish that has an elementary school," said Tim Lennon, the leader of the San Francisco chapter of SNAP.

In San Jose, Flickinger allegedly abused a 13 year old boy in 2001, Matthew Frazer, who is now 23 years old. Frazier has been in legal trouble himself, he pled no contest to charges of possession of child pornography in 2009.

"That pornography was down loaded shortly after the abuse in this case took place and that unfortunately is an all too common occurrence with this kind of abuse it creates all sorts of sexual problems," said Tim Hale, the Attorney who is representing Frazer.

We tried to contact the Fresno Diocese but they said they did not want to speak on camera, they did provide a written statement saying they followed protocol and Father Flickinger is fully retired and living at the Fresno Diocese.

Father Jim Rude who works here in Fresno says the community should have sympathy for the victim and forgiveness for Flickinger. "I'm not saying that they may not be punished, I'm not saying that, I'm saying in our hearts forgiveness," said Rude.

The plaintiff in this lawsuit is asking for monetary compensation and also wants changes that would prevent the Catholic Church from transferring priests, when allegations of abuse arise.


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