SAN FRANCISCO – Church officials in California put a priest on leave and opened a new investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation.
The San Francisco Chronicle notified officials of the Catholic Diocese of Oakland about a 2002 complaint from a parishioner who said Rev. George Alengadan groped her, the newspaper reports.
Alengadan has been relocated from two parishes since July after five women alleged sexual harassment and Alameda police opened a criminal investigation.
The alleged victim’s parents said they immediately reported the 2002 petting charges to the diocese and decided against going to the police because they trusted the church to handle them internally.
The parents never got an answer, they said.
The mother again alerted the diocese in 2016 and emailed Bishop Michael C. Barber with no results, she said.
The Chronicle published a series of articles about the Church’s reassignment of the 67-year-old priest which, according to the newspaper, led the diocese to accept the 2002 claim.
Diocese Chancellor Stephen Wilcox apologized for the Church’s dealings with Alengadan and told about 100 parishioners during a meeting on Wednesday that he “should have known better”.
The newspaper could not reach Alengadan and the diocese said it would forward requests for comment to the priest’s lawyer.