Category: Clergy Abuse

Br. Terrence Wong – Diocese of Oakland

Brother Terrence Wong

Diocese of Oakland/Marianists

Terrence Wong Horowitz Law

Ordained: Unknown

Died: 1997

Assignment History:

  • Joseph High School (Alameda, CA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Brother Terrence Wong:

A member of the Marianist religious order, Fr. Terrence Wong, was accused in a civil lawsuit, alleging that he sexually abused a child from approximately 1967 to 1970 at St. Joseph High School in Alameda. The details of the sexual abuse allegations, including when and where the alleged abuse occurred, or the victim’s age/gender, are unknown. Fr. Wong died in 1997. He was listed publicly on the Oakland Diocese’s 2019 list and the Marianists’ 2020 list of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Oakland now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Gordon Wilcox – Diocese of Oakland

Father Gordon Wilcox

Diocese of Oakland/Holy Cross

Gordon Wilcox Horowitz Law

Ordained: Unknown

Died: 1984

Assignment History:

  • 1956-1960: St. George’s College (Chile)
  • 1961-1963: University of Portland (Portland, OR)
  • 1964-1970: Notre Dame High School (Niles, IL)
  • 1971-1978: Moreau High School (Hayward, CA)
  • 1979-1981: Unknown
  • 1982: University of Portland (Portland, OR)
  • 1983: Unknown
  • 1984: Moreau Seminary (Notre Dame, IN)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Gordon Wilcox:

Fr. Gordon Wilcox was a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross religious order. In 2003, Fr. Wilcox has been named in a civil lawsuit alleging child sexual abuse. The victim claimed he was abused by Fr. Wilcox and Fr. Donald Eagleson, another known child sexual abuser. The abuse allegedly occurred in 1971 at Moreau High School in Hayward, CA, where Fr. Wilcox worked.  According to reports released, there was another allegation against Wilcox made in 2012. The details of the sexual abuse allegations, including when and where the alleged abuse occurred, or the victim’s age/gender, are unknown. Fr. Wilcox died in 1984.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Oakland now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Stephen Whelan – Diocese of Oakland

Father Stephen Whelan

Diocese of Oakland/Salesians

Stephen Whelan Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1969

Removed: 2003

Assignment History:

  • 1970: Salesian High School (Richmond, CA)
  • 1971-1978: St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, CA)
  • 1979-1980: St. Francis Junior High School (Watsonville, CA)
  • 1981-1983: Unknown
  • 1984-2005: SS. Peter and Paul (San Francisco, CA)
  • 2006-2008: Salesian Provincial Residence (San Francisco, CA)
  • 2009-2016: Berkeley Salesians of Don Bosco (Berkeley, CA)
  • 2017-2018: Unknown

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Stephen Whelan:

Fr. Stephen Whelan is a Salesian priest who worked in several California dioceses, including the Diocese of Oakland and Archdiocese of San Francisco. In 2003, Fr. Whelan was accused in a civil lawsuit of sexually abusing a child from 1970 to 1971 at St. John Bosco High School in Richmond, California. He was found guilty and was removed from ministry immediately following the verdict. Fr. Whelan was sent to a provincial house in Berkeley, California, where he still resides today.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Oakland now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Br. Francis Verngren – Diocese of Oakland

Brother Francis Verngren

Diocese of Oakland/Christian Brothers

Francis Verngren Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1936

Died: 2003

Assignment History:

  • 1937-1939: Unknown
  • 1940-1959: St. Peter’s High School and Sacred Heart High School (San Francisco, CA)
  • 1959-1969: St. Mary’s College High School (Berkeley, CA)
  • 1969-1984: St. Mary’s College High School (Napa, CA)
  • 1984: Justin-Siena High School (Napa, CA)
  • 1985-1988: Unknown
  • 1989: Retired

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Brother Francis Verngren:

Br. Francis Verngren was a member of the Christian Brothers religious order. In 2003, a man filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Br. Verngren sexually abused him when he was a child from 1966 until 1970 while Br. Verngren was principal and head dorm resident at St. Mary’s College High School in Berkeley. The lawsuit was settled within a few months, and Verngren died that same year.

Br. Verngren is publicly named on the Oakland Diocese’s and the Santa Rosa Diocese’s 2019 lists of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Oakland now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Br. John Vas – Diocese of Oakland

Brother John Vas

Diocese of Oakland/Salesian

John Vas Horowitz Law

Ordained: Unknown

Assignment History:

  • 1959-1967: Salesian High School (Richmond, CA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Brother John Vas:

Br. John Vas was a member of the Salesians religious order who worked in the Diocese of Oakland and San Francisco. In 2008, a woman accused Br. Vas of sexually abusing her for approximately seven years beginning in the 1960s when she was seven years old at Salesian High School in Richmond, CA, where Br. Vas was the band instructor.

Br. Vas has reportedly been accused of sexually abusing at least one other person. The details of the sexual abuse allegations, including when and where the alleged abuse occurred, or the victim’s age/gender, are unknown. As of 2008, Br. Vas was living in Florida with his wife of 38 years.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Oakland now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Ramon Varela – Diocese of Oakland

Father Ramon Varela

Diocese of Oakland/Franciscans

Ramon Varela Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1949

Died: 2002

Assignment History:

  • 1949-1955: Native American Mission, AZ
  • 1955-1960: St. Mary’s (Stockton, CA)
  • 1960-1962: Mission San Miguel (San Miguel, CA)
  • 1962-1963: St. Peter’s (Bapchule, AZ)
  • 1963-1967: Sacred Heart (Phoenix, AZ)
  • 1967-1968: St. Elizabeth’s (Oakland CA)
  • 1968-1970: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Fresno, CA)
  • 1970-1972: Our Lady of Guadalupe (San Jose, CA)
  • 1972-1976: Ascension (Portland, OR)
  • 1975-1978: Saints Simon and Jude (Huntington Beach, CA)
  • 1978-1979: Our Lady of Guadalupe (Delano, CA)
  • 1979 Sacred Heart (Phoenix, AZ)
  • 1979-1993: St. Francis Home (Santa Ana, NM)
  • 1993-2001: ElderCare Facilities (NM)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Ramon Varela:

Fr. Ramon Varela, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Barbara, was named publicly as accused by the Franciscans’ Santa Barbara Province on its 2019 list Friars that are Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor. According to this list, a report was made in 1994, alleging that Fr. Varela sexually abused minors from 1949 to 1979. Fr. Varela died in 2002. His status as a priest and whether he had access to children from 1993 until his death is unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Oakland now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Robert Van Handel – Diocese of Oakland

Father Robert Van Handel

Diocese of Oakland/FranciscansRobert Van Handel Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1975

Laicized: 1997

Assignment History:

  • 1975-1991: St. Anthony Seminary (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • 1991-1992: Franciscan Friars Provincial House, Oakland, CA
  • 1992: St. Luke Institute (Suiteland, MD)
  • 1993-2020: Unknown

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Robert Van Handel:

A Franciscan priest in California, Fr. Robert Van Handel, started a boys’ choir in Berkeley and later moved to Santa Barbara, where he taught at St. Anthony’s Seminary High School and founded the Santa Barbara Boys’ Choir. At these locations, Fr. Van Handel allegedly abused at least 25 boys from 1975 to 1992, including his own nephew.

The first allegation of child sexual abuse against Fr. Van Handel came in 1992 and resulted in Fr. Van Handel being removed from active ministry. He was then sent to St. Luke Institute, an institution known for treating priests accused of child sexual abuse.

In 1994, Fr. Van Handel was criminally charged with sexually abusing students and sentenced to eight years in prison. He only served four years in prison and was on parole for four years. After his release in 1998, he moved to Santa Cruz, California, and is a registered sex offender.

A sexual autobiography written by Father Robert Van Handel for a therapist was released describing the sexual events throughout his life, including his abuse of children. In the document, he claims that he was sexually abused as a student at St. Anthony’s in the 1960s. He states, “There is something about me that is happier when accompanied by a small boy…Perhaps besides the sexual element, the child in me wants a playmate.”

Fr. Van Handel was laicized in 1997. He was included in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ list of priests accused of sexual misconduct involving minors and the Oakland Diocese’s list, and the Santa Barbara Province Franciscans’ list in 2019.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Oakland now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

 

Fr. Gary B. Tollner – Diocese of Oakland

Father Gary B. Tollner

Diocese of OaklandGary B. Tollner Horowitz Law

 

Ordained: 1961

Died: 1999

Assignment History:

  • 1961-1966 St. John the Baptist (El Cerrito, CA)
  • 1966-1971 St. Lawrence O’Toole (Oakland, CA)
  • 1971-1973 Santa Maria (Orinda, CA)
  • 1973-1985 St. Phillip Neri (Alameda, CA)
  • 1985-1995 St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus (Oakland, CA)
  • 1985-1999 Propagation of the Faith (Oakland, CA)
  • 1988-1999 St. Peter the Apostle Society (Oakland, CA)
  • 1989-1999 Catholic Ladies’ Aid Society (Oakland, CA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Gary B. Tollner:

A priest of the Oakland Diocese, Fr. Gary Tollner, has been accused of sexually abusing at least six children since the 1960s. In 1982, his sister-in-law reported that he had sexually abused her developmentally disabled young adult son. When this accusation came to light, others began to report abuse by Fr. Tollner. Reports were also made by parishioners that alleged that Fr. Tollner was engaging in suspicious behavior with young boys involving alcohol, drugs, and a hot tub.

In 1985, Fr. Tollner was sent to St. Luke’s Institute in Maryland, an institution known for treating priests accused of child sex abuse.  In 1987, Tollner was accused of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy at St. Lawrence O’Toole beginning in 1966, and that the abuse continued into adulthood. From 1985 to 1995, Tollner was allowed to reside at a parish, which had a school, in which he held several Chancery positions. Tollner died in 1999. Fr. Tollner was named publicly as a sex offender at the February 2004 Diocese of Oakland’s apology service.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Oakland now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

We’re Confused About This Diocese of Albany Clergy Predator

Can you help us figure something out? Despite decades of experience with child sex abuse cases, we at Horowitz Law are confused about a priest just “outed” as an abuser by his church supervisors.

Last week, the Albany diocese announced that it’s adding Fr. Lawrence G. McTavey to its list of credibly accused child molesting clerics.

https://cbs6albany.com/news/local/albany-diocese-adds-deceased-priest-to-list-of-accused-sex-abusers

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Albany/2019_12_04_Albany_Credibly_Accused.pdf

So far, a pretty typical-sounding pedophile priest case, right? Yes.

Pretty straightforward, right? No.

Two quick facts you should know, according to WRGB TV: “The diocesan review board hired an investigator to look into a long history of allegations against Fr. McTavey” against whom “multiple abuse claims were filed between 2002 and 2019.”

Now, here where it gets confusing and here are a few of our questions:

Why did Albany Catholic officials apparently publicly disclose nothing about Fr. McTave

–when he was apparently first accused of abuse in 2002 (when all US bishops agreed, in writing, to be ‘open and transparent’ about predators)

–when the diocese first posed a ‘credibly accused’ list in 2015 and

–when the diocese updated that list in 2018 and

–updated it again in 2019 and

–when Fr. McTavey died almost a year ago.

Why did Albany church officials – including Bishop Howard Hubbard and Bishop Edward Scharfenberger – wait nearly two decades before taking action against this priest?

And this of course leads to perhaps the most disturbing question of all: If the Albany diocese hides allegations against this one priest for almost 20 years – AFTER the US bishops’ abuse policy (a.k.a. “the Dallas Charter”) pledging reform – how many other predators is it STILL hiding?

It should surprise no one that abuse continues to be mishandled in Albany. Bishop Hubbard faces several civil cases charging that he molested kids. And his replacement, Bishop Scharfenberger has been repeatedly blasted for shortcomings in abuse and cover up cases by SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and other groups and individuals.

But since Albany’s bishops, priests and lay chancery staff have been so irresponsible and secretive about Fr. McTavey, we at Horowitz Law decided to disclose more information about this predator that church officials have NOT disclosed. Fr. McTavey

—was a native of Troy NY,

—attended schools and seminaries in Rochester, Loundonville and Niagara.

—worked at churches in Stillwater, Cohoes, Crescent, Waterford, Troy and Albany,

—traveled to New York City whenever possible,

—headed the diocesan school board,

—spent considerable time in abroad (“took a sabbatical to study in Rome, took an extended trip to Ireland and travelled extensively throughout Europe.”)

Why is this relevant? Because it clearly shows that for decades and decades, Fr. McTavey had tremendous access to kids. (He also had family in Glenville, Clifton Park, and Greenbush, all in New York.)

And because this kind of biographical detail is what a responsible employer would reveal about a child molester, if that employer genuinely wanted to bring about healing, by prodding and clarifying the memories of others who were around the predator. (“See, honey, that Fr. McTavey DID work in both Cohoes and Waterford. So he IS the guy who took our son Bob camping years ago. Let’s call Bob and see if anything bad happened.”)

https://gordoncemerickfuneralhome.com/tribute/details/964/Rev-Lawrence-McTavey/obituary.html

In all fairness, while we specifically mentioned two Albany bishops in this post, they aren’t the only ones who’ve been less than forthcoming in this case.

For starters, there are two ‘vicars general’ in the diocese. These are high ranking positions whose occupants often have access to valuable private church information (like who’s admitted or been accused of abuse). They are Fr. David LeFort (David.LeFort@rcda.org) and Fr. Bob Longobucco (Robert.Longobucco@rcda.org).

These two may have known about McTavey. And if they didn’t, they should be in the bishop’s face, confronting him about his continued secrecy.

Then there are the offices of “Safe Environment” and “Protecting Children:” Joyce Tarantino (joyce.tarantino@rcda.org, 518-453-6635) Brian Evers (brian.evers@rcda.org, 518-453-6635) and Anna Bagley (safeenv@rcda.org), Frederick Jones (assistance.coordinator@rcda.org, 518-453-6646).

Then there’s the diocesan review board, which looks at abuse cases: Jon Allen, Fr. David V. Berberian, Joseph Bernier, Jaclyn A. Brilling, Kathryn M. Martin, Sister Serena A. Thompson and Lawrence Wiest.

Some of the blame surely also rests with the diocese’s Communications Department: Mary Deturris Poust (mary.deturrispoust@rcda.org, 518 453-6618, @MaryDTP), Jason Husch (jason.husch@rcda.org), Molly Halpin (Molly.Halpin@rcda.org) and their predecessors.

Presumably, they work in education because they care about kids. So they’re particularly obligated to make sure the boss isn’t concealing information that might endanger kids.

Let’s go back to the simplest question: “Why do all these Albany church officials say nothing about abuse reports against Fr. McTavey for almost 20 years?”

And let’s end with the most upsetting: “What else are all they hiding?”

Br. Tom Thing – Diocese of Oakland

Brother Tom Thing

Diocese of Oakland/Franciscans

Tom Thing Horowitz Law

Ordained: Unknown

Removed: 2004

Assignment History:

  • 1974-1978: St. Anthony Seminary School (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • 1979-1981: Unknown
  • 1982-1983: Invested/Simple Vows
  • 1983: St. Paul of the Shipwreck (San Francisco, CA)
  • 1984: Unknown
  • 1985: 7th Street Formation House
  • 1986-1989: Unknown
  • 1990: St. Francis (Provo, UT)
  • 1991-1993: Unknown
  • 1994: Old Mission San Luis Rey (Oceanside, CA)
  • 1995: Leave of absence
  • 1996-2001: University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
  • 2001: Health sabbatical
  • 2002: Unknown
  • 2003: Old Mission San Luis Rey (Oceanside, CA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Brother Tom Thing:

Br. Tom Thing was a member of the Franciscan Friars of California. Allegations of child sexual abuse by Br. Thing surfaced when he was a pre-novitiate candidate at St. Anthony’s Seminary in Santa Barbara, California. Br. Thing was then transferred to the Diocese of Las Vegas, where allegations of abuse again surfaced when Br. Thing worked at St. Christopher’s Elementary School in North Las Vegas in the 1980s.

At least one survivor has come forward with allegations of child sexual abuse during this time. In 2003, he returned to Old Mission San Luis Ray where he was paired with a guardian to monitor his behavior. In 2004, Br. Thing was officially released from the Order.

In 2011, a civil suit was filed against Br. Thing in Las Vegas, alleging that he sexually abused a 7th-grade boy at St. Christopher Elementary School. From 2010 to 2011, it was reported that Br. Thing was the director of student life at Rosemead Buddhist University. While at Rosemead Buddhist University, Br. Thing allegedly had a relationship with a younger student.

Br. Thing was named in civil lawsuits filed in 1995, 2004, and 2011. Br. Thing has been living in Whittier, California, since 2017. He is listed on the Las Vegas Diocese’s 2019 list of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor, as well as on the Oakland Diocese’s 2019 list and the Province’s list.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Oakland now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.