As we have seen repeatedly, the Catholic church does not disclose all the information it should. The Diocese of Stockton is no exception. The most glaring problem with the Stockton Diocese’s ‘accused’ clergy list is that some predator priests are still being protected. Their names have been deliberately left off the bishop’s ‘accused’ list. In all fairness, one might understand Stockton Bishop Myron Cotta’s decision to ignore a few publicly accused clerics on his list of accused clerics on his diocesan website. Three cases seem to be murky or, to use the Catholic hierarchy’s term, possibly ‘unsubstantiated.’
- Fr. Julio Cesar Guarin-Sosa of Colombia was arrested in 2013 on charges of molestation of a girl. Those charges were later dropped. In a subsequent criminal trial, he was found not guilty of misdemeanor charges. (He worked in Lodi.)
- Fr. Francis Arakal from India was accused of molesting two girls, he faced a civil suit, but in a criminal trial, a jury cleared Fr. Arakal of sexual battery. The jurors, however, awarded the accuser’s family $20,000 for how two other priests responded to their report. (He worked in Tracy, Modesto, Lemoore, and the Fresno Diocese.
- Fr. Editho Mascardo: A report of inappropriate conduct by him toward a minor was made to Stockton police in 2001, but no criminal charges were filed against the priest. (He worked in Stockton, Hughson, Sonora, and as a hospital chaplain in Modesto.)
But there’s nothing murky or ‘unsubstantiated’ about the abuse reports against Msgr. Vincent Ignatius Breen. He was repeatedly sued, may have as many as 100 victims, is on the Oakland diocese’s ‘credibly accused’ list, and was forced to leave northern California to avoid prosecution for fondling eight girls. How on earth do Bishop Cotta and his staff explain leaving Msgr. Breen off the ‘accused’ list? (He worked in Stockton, Belmont, San Mateo, Walnut Creek, Fremont, San Francisco, and in Washington DC)
The Stockton Diocese is also a good example of how far and how often known or suspected predator priests have been (and perhaps still are) moved from city to city, state to state, and diocese to diocese.
Many child molesting clerics who are or were in the Stockton area also spent time in a variety of states, including Minnesota (Fr. Sylvester Brown), Ohio (Fr. Harold J. Goschke), Illinois (Fr. Theodore Feely, a Franciscan), Alabama (Fr. Timothy F. Keppel, a Resurrectionist), Nevada (Fr. Raul Alberto Bosco and Fr. Feely), Arizona (Fr. Thomas Patrick Purcell, a Marianist and Fr. Ramon Varela, a Franciscan), Iowa (Fr. Louis A. Telegdy, a Missionaries of the Precious Blood), Kentucky (Fr. Telegdy), New Mexico (Fr. Felipe Baldonado, a Franciscan and Fr. Raymond Devlin, a Jesuit) and Utah (Fr. Raymond Devlin, a Jesuit and Br. Neil McMenamin and Fr. Thomas P. O’Neill, both Oblates).
Then there’s Fr. Don McGuire, a convicted child molester in a class of his own. A Jesuit, McGuire is perhaps most widely known as Mother Teresa’s ‘spiritual director.’ McGuire attended schools in Indiana and Ohio, worked in several countries (Austria, Ireland, Germany, and India, among others) and in many cities (including New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Mobile, AL, and three cities in Illinois: Chicago, Evanston, and Barrington). Across California, Stockton’s predators have also worked in these other dioceses: Oakland (Fr. Edmond G. Cloutier, Fr. Joseph Dondero, Fr. J. Patrick Foley, Br. Dennis Duffy Franciscan and Fr. Baldonado), Los Angeles (Fr. James Cairns, a Vincentian, Fr. Joseph Lopez, a Claretian, and Fr. Baldonado), Fresno (Fr. Purcell), San Bernardino (Fr. Keppel), San Francisco (Fr. Edward Henriques and Fr. Baldonado, both Franciscans and Msgr. Patrick J. O’Shea).
As mentioned above, Fr. Foley has been sent all over the state, earning himself a place on the ‘credibly accused’ lists in the dioceses of San Diego, Oakland, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa. Curiously, the Stockton diocese claims he had faculties there from “10/25-30/14,” whatever that means. To his credit, Bishop Cotta provides links to several diocesan and religious order websites that post lists of accused child molesting clerics (though the links to the Vincentians and the Los Angeles archdiocese are broken).
The most common religious order in the Stockton diocese is the Franciscans. Franciscans who are credibly accused abusers in northern California include Br. Didachus Clavell, Fr. Louis Wayne Ladenburger, Fr. David Carrier (“Carriere, Laurian”), Fr. Mario Walter Cimmarrusti, Br. Dennis Duffy, Fr. Martin Gates, Fr. Gavin Griffith, Fr. Joaquin Moreno, Fr. Josef Prochnow, Fr. Charles “Jude” Ruetten, Fr. Ramon Varela, Fr. Baldonado and Fr. Henriques. One religious order cleric who worked in and around Stockton, Fr. Titian Athos “Jim” Miani, merits mention here. He is less well known than Fr. McGuire, the Jesuit. But Fr. Miani has also lived and worked – and likely abused – in many places. A native of Italy and originally a Salesian, Miani worked in at least three countries (Canada, Brazil, and the US) and in four California dioceses (Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and Stockton, in Angels Camp, and Linden). Fr. Miani has been accused of sexually abusing at least 12 children and has been named in at least three civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse.
In 2019, the support and advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) publicly urged Stockton Catholic officials to add seven more names of accused priests to their list. Five of them were eventually posted. But now, three years later, two are still missing. They are:
- Fr. William S. Myers was put on leave in May 2011 for a “boundary violation” after it became known by church officials that he had followed a 17-year-old boy into a San Francisco clothing store dressing room. Fr. Myers said he thought the boy was an adult. The priest also admitted that he had a sexual addiction to adults. At one point, Fr. Myers underwent treatment for sexual identity issues. He worked at Our Lady of Fatima parish in Stockton.
- Fr. Lynn Richard Caffoe was accused of abuse by at least 15 people, suspended from ministry, and defrocked. In 2004, he was included on the Los Angeles archdiocese’s ‘credibly accused’ list. Fr. Caffoe reportedly lived and/or worked in four dioceses: Stockton (Modesto), San Diego, Monterey, and Portland, Oregon.
- Finally, the undisputedly most notorious Stockton predator priest deserves attention here too. He is Fr. Oliver Francis O’Grady. After serving time in prison, he was deported to his native Ireland and spent time in the Netherlands and Portugal. He has reportedly molested dozens of children, and in 2019, Fr. O’Grady was arrested for child porn, convicted, and sentenced to 22 months in jail. In 2021, he was released. Fr. O’Grady is the subject of a chilling and award-winning documentary, Deliver Us From Evil.
If you were hurt by any monk, brother, priest, nun, bishop, or church employee in the Stockton Diocese, we at Horowitz Law encourage you to contact us immediately. Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected]. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.