First Lawsuits Filed Against Diocese of Oakland Under Child Victims Act for Abuse by Convicted Predator Fr. Kiesle

Diocese of Oakland Has Harbored and Protected Predator Priests for Decades

Survivors to Speak Publicly Tuesday

(Oakland, CA) – Tuesday in Oakland, courageous survivors, attorneys from Jeff Anderson & Associates, and attorneys Joe George Jr. and Rick Simons will:

  • Reveal and discuss two child sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Oakland under California’s new Child Victims Act (AB 218). One of the Plaintiffs was sexually abused by notorious and twice-convicted serial pedophile priest Fr. Stephen Kiesle (The “Pied Piper”).  The other was sexually abused by Fr. George E. Crespin, a Diocese of Oakland priest and former top official. Both Plaintiffs were sexually abused in approximately the mid-1970s at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City, California. Crespin worked at Our Lady of the Rosary from approximately 1972–79, and Kiesle worked at Our Lady of the Rosary from approximately 1975 until his first arrest in 1978.
  • Survivors of child sexual abuse by Kiesle and Crespin will speak publicly Tuesday.
  • Kiesle is accused of sexually abusing dozens of children from approximately 1972–95. In 1978, Fr. Kiesle was arrested for sexually abusing two boys and pleaded no contest. The Bishop of Oakland, knowing Kiesle was on probation and in court-ordered therapy, approved having Kiesle work special assignments in two neighboring dioceses. In 1981, Kiesle left the priesthood and the Diocese of Oakland finally requested that the Vatican have him defrocked. The Vatican waited until 1987 to do so. During this time, Kiesle reportedly left the priesthood and moved to Pinole, California where he worked as a youth minister at St. Joseph’s from approximately 1985–88. In 2002, he was arrested and charged on 13 counts of child sexual abuse. In 2004, he was accused of sexually abusing a girl and was sentenced to six years in prison. He was released on parole in 2009 and sent back to prison months later on a parole violation. Upon his release, Kiesle became a registered sex offender. He has been named in numerous lawsuits. He remains living in the East Bay.
  • Reveal and discuss that Fr. Crespin is a Diocese of Oakland priest and former member of the Diocese of Oakland hierarchy. Crespin admitted concealing from law enforcement reports of clergy sex abuse by other priests while a Diocese of Oakland top official and failing to note accusations in the priests’ personnel files. At least one other survivor previously came forward alleging child sexual abuse by Crespin from approximately 1974–75 at Our Lady of the Rosary. The Diocese of Oakland paid several hundred thousand dollars to settle a lawsuit alleging child sexual abuse by Crespin in 2005, but allowed him to return to ministry. When the Diocese of Oakland issued its list of credibly accused clergy in February 2019, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, chose not to include Crespin on the list. It is believed that Crespin remains a priest of the Diocese of Oakland.
  • Reveal and discuss the Diocese of Oakland’s practice of concealing and protecting its clergy predators past and present. On February 18, 2019, when the Diocese released its list of credibly accused clergy, Bishop Barber stated that there has been no “credible incident” of child sexual abuse by a Diocese of Oakland priest since 1988 and that no active priest in the Diocese had a credible allegation of child sexual abuse. However, at the end of January 2019, the Diocese announced that one of its priests, Fr. Alex Castillo, was reported to have had inappropriate contact with a minor, which the Diocese did not immediately report to the police. Castillo used the head start to flee the country.  Since then, a second Oakland priest was convicted of recent child sex crimes and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
  • Discuss the historic California Child Victims Act (AB 218), a new law that extends the statute of limitations and provides a three-year window for sexual abuse survivors to bring lawsuits in cases that were previously barred by the statute of limitations, no matter when the abuse occurred or how old the survivor is. The law becomes effective January 1, 2020.
  • Encourage sexual abuse survivors to come forward confidentially under AB 218.
  • Demand full disclosure by Bishop Barber of the identities, histories, and current whereabouts of all clergy accused of child sexual abuse who worked in the Diocese of Oakland.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 1:00 PM (PST)

Homewood Suites by Hilton Oakland-Waterfront
Estuary Room
1103 Embarcadero
Oakland, CA 94606

The press conference will be live-streamed via YouTube and on Facebook 

Spanish-speaking JAA staff will be present and available at this event.