Priest's Alleged Sexual Assault Methods Outlined
Grand Jury Told Stories of Alcohol, Cars and Molestations

By Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
June 17, 2000

The nine men who have accused defrocked priest Patrick O'Shea of molesting them when they were boys told a grand jury that the monsignor would ply them with alcohol, let them drive his sports cars and used other enticements to keep them under his control for years.

In testimony made public this week, the men portrayed O'Shea as a sexual predator who targeted them at an early age and took them on road trips to Lake Berryessa and other spots. Most of the men were altar boys or attended San Francisco parochial schools where O'Shea worked.

O'Shea, 67, faces 224 counts of child molestation and is being held in San Francisco County jail on $5 million bail.

In their testimony in April before the grand jury that indicted O'Shea, the men told of sexual abuses that began in the mid-1960s and included a pattern of sodomy, oral copulation, shower massages and swimming pool attacks.

O'Shea would take the boys on weekend trips individually and together in small groups, they testified.

They said many of the rapes happened at O'Shea's two-bedroom trailer home at Lake Berryessa, after the boys played a "pass-out game" where they would drink beer, whiskey and other alcohol.

The men, who were between 10 and 18 at the time, said they would awake after the drinking bouts to find themselves in O'Shea's bed, naked or wearing only underwear.

They said there was an implicit understanding that if they went along with the abuse, O'Shea would let them go boating with him, drive his sports cars, visit the Elks Club and other private clubs where they could swim and play racquetball, and continue to have access to large amounts of beer and hard liquor.

O'Shea knew many of the boys' parents and in some cases dined with them, the men said. He performed the marriage ceremony for one of the boy's parents.

One of the men, identified only as Michael S., testified that O'Shea picked him for a trip to Lake Berryessa when he was a sixth-grader at Mission Dolores Catholic elementary school.

"He approached me in the playground at school," Michael S. said. He said that O'Shea told him, " 'For services well done, we're doing a little altar boy field trip.' "

O'Shea allegedly molested him on that trip and subsequent visits to the lake, he said. His protests did no good; after one attack, Michael S. said O'Shea "just said, 'Shhhh' and went to sleep."

O'Shea, who was ordained in 1958, worked his way up to become pastor of St. Cecilia's parish in the Sunset District and an adviser to former Archbishop John Quinn. He was pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church in San Francisco from 1978 until 1990.

Four years ago, the San Francisco Archdiocese paid a total of $2.5 million to 15 men who said they had been molested as boys by O'Shea and two other Bay Area priests.

The sexual abuse case is not the only legal problem for O'Shea. Last fall, the San Francisco archdiocese filed a lawsuit accusing him of embezzling more than $250,000 donated by nuns and parishioners during his 16-year tenure at the two San Francisco churches.

Prosecutors had already filed criminal charges related to the lost funds, accusing him of embezzled church funds to finance a vacation home in Southern California. That case is still pending.


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