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Woman sues over alleged clerical abuse

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A woman in her 40s has sued the Roman Catholic diocese of Oakland, Calif., alleging she was molested by a priest 30 years ago.

Her alleged abuser, Monsignor Joseph Breen, died in 1986, four years after he was forced to retire because of allegations he had molested a string of young girls.

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In her suit, filed Tuesday in Alameda County, the woman says Breen abused her at the rectory of Holy Family Church in Fremont in 1980 and 1981.

Members of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, held a news conference outside the Cathedral of Christ in Light in Oakland.

"We're here to call attention to the lawsuit so other abuse victims might come forward," Melanie Sakoda, the group's director, said. "There must be others who saw something or heard something at the time of this abuse and may have been victims themselves. Only 10 percent of people sexually abused actually end up telling somebody about it. So we're also here to remind people who haven't come forward that they're not alone."

Mike Brown, a spokesman for the diocese, said Oakland has not had a case of an abusive priest come to light in the past 20 years and that Bishop John Cummins has taken aggressive steps to control the problem.

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