Msgr. Vincent I. Breen – Diocese of Oakland

| Dec 7, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Monsignor Vincent I. Breen

Diocese of Oakland

Ordained: 1936

Removed: 1982

Died: 1986

Assigned as follows:

  • 1936-1938: St. Mary’s (Stockton, CA)
  • 1938-1942: Catholic University (Washington, DC)
  • 1942-1944: Nativity (San Francisco, CA)
  • 1944-1946: St. Joseph Military Academy (Belmont, CA)
  • 1944-1952: Serra High School for Boys (San Mateo, CA)
  • 1952-1953: St. Mary’s (Walnut Creek, CA)
  • 1953-1982: Holy Spirit (Fremont, CA)
  • 1982-1986: Retired

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Monsignor Vincent I. Breen:

Msgr. Vincent I. Breen worked in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of Oakland. According to media reports, he has been accused of sexually abusing many children throughout his career. In 1967, one minor girl reported she was abused by him to a nun, who was her school principal at Holy Spirit in Fremont, California. The nun reportedly informed the Diocese because she wasn’t molested in her eighth-grade year.

In 1973, the same nun received further reports about allegations that Breen was fondling third- and fourth-grade girls while out on the schoolyard. He reportedly wore a cape and would molest the girls under it. The nun reported the abuse to the diocese. She was then transferred to another school in Sacramento. No action was taken against the monsignor at the time.

According to media reports, one parishioner was told not to leave her daughters around Breen. He allegedly photographed the girls and let the young girls jump on a trampoline while he abused them in his room. Despite many young girls reporting the abuse to school officials, no action was taken to stop or report the abuse to authorities.

In 1976, Breen was under an investigation for child sexual abuse led by another child molester, Msgr. George Francis. The results were not made public. A 1981 police investigation found that Breen had molested at least 8 girls, ages 7 to 14 over a 1 1/2 year period. No criminal charges were filed, on the condition that he retires, leaves the area, and seeks counseling. It is feared he may have molested more than 100 children from the 1950s to the 1980s. In March 1982, after he was removed from ministry, Vicar General of the Diocese, William Macchi, stated that he had first heard “rumors” of Breen’s abusive behavior three years earlier.

“Our predator was someone we believed would protect, care and love us. Love us as Jesus loves us. In our child’s eyes, if we were special to the pastor, we were special to God,” one victim said.

In 2005, the Diocese of Oakland publicly apologized for the years of child sexual abuse allegations and then-Bishop Allen Vigneron. Breen has been named in at least three civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse, with the most recent filing in October 2019. His name appeared on the Diocese of Oaklands’ 2019 list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors.

Breen died in 1986.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Oakland. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest or other Catholic clergy in California State, 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 Oakland and nationwide. We can help.

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