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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Peninsula Priest Held in "Private" S.F. Location as Abuse Investigation Moves Forward

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 2:45 PM


A Menlo Park priest placed on leave following improper conduct with a 17-year-old parishioner has been relocated to a "private" location in San Francisco while an internal investigation of the incident moves forward, according to the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Father William Meyers, pastor of St. Raymond's Catholic Church, admitted to following the teenage boy into a department store dressing room. After diocesan officials learned of the incident, they removed Meyers from active ministry. In a visit to the church on June 1, Bishop William Justice of San Francisco told parishioners that Meyers had admitted to having a "sexual addiction" involving adults, and had undergone therapy related to struggles with his "sexual identity" at the time of his ordination in Stockton.

Meyers is now posted to a private location in San Francisco, where he is not involved in any form of ministry and is not in proximity to children or young adults, according to archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek. He added that the diocesan independent review board, which examines allegations of child abuse, met on June 6 to look at Meyers' case. The next meeting is scheduled for July.

Police officials called by the 17-year-old's father determined that no crime had taken place in the dressing room. Wesolek said the archdiocese has asked other potential victims to come forward. To date, none have.

The investigation of Meyers comes as Roman Catholic bishops meet in Seattle. That conference has come under fire from reform advocates who criticize the bishops for choosing not to revisit their handling of molestation cases. These critics say the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted in Dallas in 2002 in response to revelations of widespread abuse by priests, has proven inadequate, as evidenced by recent scandals in Philadelphia and Kansas City. Former San Francisco Archbishop William Levada, now a powerful official at the Vatican, helped midwife the 2002 reforms.

Wesolek said Meyers' case shows that the Church's current methods for responding to abuse suspicions are functioning properly. "We're not happy that these kind of events happen, but we are pleased that the policies in the charter are working," he says.

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