Rev. Bernard J. Dabbene, s.d.b.

Summary of Case: Dabbene was arrested in November 2000 for suspected child molestation when police caught him in his car with a 17-year-old boy, both with their pants unzipped. Dabbene was found guilty and sentenced to 300 hours of community service and three years' probation. He was also ordered to receive counseling, to avoid minors and to register as a sex offender. After six months of treatment, he returned to live with his order in San Francisco, where he worked as an archivist. In 2002 a man claimed that Dabbene had molested him when the man was a ninth-grader at a Salesian Seminary high school, and Dabbene was a teacher and lay brother. The man said he reported the abuse at the time to the Salesians. Dabbene died in 2010.

Ordained: 1966
Died: Sept. 9, 2010


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

late 1950s

San Francisco archbishop was John Joseph Mitty (1935-1961)

  Salesian Seminary


• In 2002 a man claimed that Dabbene molested him when the man was a ninth- grader at this school in 1959. The man said he reported the abuse to the Salesians when it occurred.

CA Lay Brother; teacher

This was prior to Dabbene's ordination.

Salesian Seminary later became known as Salesian High School.


Monterey-Fresno bishop was Aloysius Joseph WIllinger, C.SS.R (1953-1967), followed by Harry Anselm Clinch (1967-1982)
1968 St. Francis High School Watsonville CA   This was a minor seminary with 75 students.


Los Angeles archbishop was James Francis Aloysius McIntyre (1948-1970), followed by Timothy Manning (1970-1985)

1972 Don Bosco Technical High School S. San Gabriel/Rosemead CA Vice-Principal School had 727-855 students.


Oakland bishop was Floyd Lawrence Begin (1962-1977), followed by John Stephen Cummins (1977-2003)

1979 Salesian High School Richmond CA Principal, Rector School had 395-330 students.
1979 1982 Don Bosco Technical Institute Rosemead CA   School had 749-719 students.
1982 1983         Dabbene is not indexed in the 1983 Directory.


San Francisco archbishop was John Raphael Quinn (1977-1995)

1984 Salesian Provincial Residence San Francisco CA   Dabbene is indexed in the 1984 Directory as at this residence, but is not listed as there in the San Francisco archdiocesan pages.
1984 1985 Salesian Community Berkeley CA  


Manning was succeeded as Los Angeles archbishop by Roger Michael Mahony (1985-2011)

1989 St. John Bosco High School Bellflower CA Director School had 940-914 students, all boys.
1989 1993 Salesian Provincial Residence San Francisco CA Director  


Quinn was succeeded by William Joseph Levada (1995-2005)

1999 Corpus Christi San Francisco CA 1/4, 1/2, 1/5 Parish had a school with 300-314 students.
1998 2000 Archdiocesan Vicar for Parishes San Francisco CA    
  2000 Archdiocesan Board of Education San Francisco CA    
1999 2000 Cathedral of St. Mary (Assumption)

San Francisco

• Dabbene was arrested in Nov. 2000 for molesting a teen-age boy. The two were caught by police in Dabbene's car in San Francisco, both with their pants unzipped. Dabbene was charged with assault with attempt to commit oral copulation and false imprisonment, annoying or molesting a child, and sexual battery.



In residence.

Dabbene was placed on leave after his arrest.




George Hugh Niederauer replaced Levada (2005-)

2010 Salesian Provincial Residence

San Francisco CA In residence; archivist.

Dabbene pleaded guilty to molesting a minor. He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and 3 years' probation. He was also ordered to receive counseling, to avoid minors and to register as a sex offender. He was sent in 2001 to St. John Vianney Center in Philadelphia for six months of sex offender treatment.

Dabbene died Sept. 9, 2010.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1967-2010)

Priest Arrested on Suspicion of Molestation, Contra Costa Times, November 15, 2000
Catholics Deal with Sex Arrests As Another Priest Faces Charges, Church's Response Shows Progress in Addressing Persistent Problem, By Marilee Enge, San Jose Mercury News, November 17, 2000
Accused Priest Back in Court, Judge Forbids Any Contact with Boy, San Francisco Chronicle, November 17, 2000
Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Sexual Assault, San Francisco Chronicle, December 1, 2000
Priest Guilty of Molesting Boy, 17, Longtime Catholic Educator Was Sentenced to Three Years of Probation, By Marilee Enge, San Jose Mercury News, March 1, 2001
Salesian High Hid Abuse, Man Says, By Karl Fischer, Times, July 2, 2003
The Man Who Keeps the Secrets, By Jason Berry, San Francisco California [San Francisco CA], Downloaded September 22, 2005
House of the Accused, When Priests Within the Salesian Order Based in San Francisco Were Accused of Sex Abuse, the Leaders Chose to Keep Quiet, By Ron Russell, San Francisco Weekly, January 5, 2006
Salesians Hold World Record for Pedophile Priests -- Guest Writer Joey Piscitelli Lists Their Names and Connections to William
Levada, By Joey Piscitelli, City of Angels, March 19, 2008
Abuse Was Common in Religious Orders, By Jeremy Herb and Rob Dennis, San Jose Mercury News, April 1, 2008
Accused Clerics, Contra Costa Times, April 1, 2008
Fr. Bernard Dabbene, San Francisco Chronicle, September 13, 2010
A Priest with a Past Dies, to Little Attention, Bay Area Observer, September 15, 2010

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Dabbene's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Sept. 27, 2011.