Six California adults are suing three Catholic priests and two northern California dioceses over childhood sexual abuse they suffered, thanks to a new state law that opens the door to potentially thousands more similar lawsuits. The new measure takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
All of the offending clerics are diocesan priests, have been sued before, are listed as 'credibly accused' abusers by church officials on diocesan websites and are deceased.
The allegations come in three separate lawsuits filed on the same day in which one man is suing the Diocese of Sacramento and Diocese of Santa Rosa and two men are suing the Diocese of Santa Rosa due to sexual abuse by Fr. Patrick M. Gleeson. In a separate lawsuit, two women are suing the Diocese of Santa Rosa for sexual abuse by Fr. Donald Wren Kimball. In a third lawsuit, a man is suing the Diocese of Santa Rosa because he was sexually abused by Fr. Xavier (Javier) Ochoa (a.k.a. Francisco Ochoa-Perez).
The most recent abuse in Santa Rosa generated considerable controversy and rare criminal charges against both the accused and his church supervisor. It involved a priest who admitted to his bishop in 2006, that he had abused a youngster. But church officials waited five days before calling police, which enabled the priest to flee the US. He died as a fugitive in Mexico.
These lawsuits are made possible because of a new state law that takes effect on January 1, 2020 which will almost certainly prompt hundreds – or perhaps thousands – of civil cases against those who commit and conceal child sex crimes, especially in churches, schools, camps and day cares.
“It’s an honor to help these brave victims,” said Dr. Joseph C. George, an attorney/psychologist who represents the six survivors. “I hope their courage will inspire others who are suffering because of childhood trauma anywhere – in schools, camps, churches, sports programs – to step forward and start healing.”
George has handled hundreds of childhood sexual abuse cases.
A representative of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests also praised the men.
“It’s always easiest to do nothing and just hope the pain of such horrific betrayal eventually goes away,” said David Clohessy, former long time director of SNAP and a victim himself. “Sadly, it rarely does, unless a victim summons the courage to take action – whether reporting to police, going to therapy or suing the wrongdoers. For most victims, it also helps to publicly expose those who committed and concealed the crimes, because this leads to more vigilance by parents and more prevention by officials.”
The accused priests
From: Guadalajara Mexico
Ordained: 1969 for the Jesuits in Mexico
First publicly accused: 2006
Put on leave and fled California: April 28, 2006
Laicized: June 29, 2009
Also sued: 2007, 2019
Died: in 2009 as a fugitive in Mexico.
Ordained: 1947 in the Diocese of Sacramento
Incardinated: 1962 in the Diocese of Santa Rosa
First publicly accused: 2002
From: United States
Ordained: 1969 in the Diocese of Santa Rosa
First publicly accused: 1990
Criminally convicted: 2002
Died: in 2006
---John Doe 11 (suing the Santa Rosa diocese)
Born in: 1986
Abused at age: 13
Abused in: Parish rectory
--- Stan Sloan (suing the Santa Rosa diocese)
Born in: 1953
Abused at age: 14 -17
Abused in: Las Vegas and Calistoga (Our Lady of Perpetual Help)
---John Doe 129 (suing Santa Rosa diocese)
Born in: 1962
Abused at age: 10 -16
Abused in: San Francisco, in Calistoga at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and in Napa at St. Apollinaris
---John Doe 130 (suing the Sacramento and Santa Rosa dioceses)
Born in: 1950
Abused at age: 10 -17
Abused in: Garberville at Our Lady of the Redwoods
--- Jane Doe 104 (suing the Santa Rosa diocese)
Born in: 1954
Abused at age: 16
Abused in: Eureka at Sacred Heart parish
--- Jane Doe 105 (suing the Santa Rosa diocese)
Born in: 1958
Abused at age: 17
Abused in: Santa Rosa at Resurrection Church
Bishop Robert Vasa heads the Santa Rosa diocese (and has since 2011). He can be reached at 707 566 3300. His chief public relations strategist is Chris Lyford (707 566 3302, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bishop Jaime Soto heads the Sacramento diocese (and has since 2007). He can be reached at 916 773 0100. His chief public relations strategist is Bee Jae Visitacion (916 73 0154, email@example.com).
The Santa Rosa was formed in 1962 out of parts of the Sacramento diocese and the San Francisco archdiocese.
Dr. Joseph C. George, 916 641 7300 office, 916 802 7949 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maricar A. Pascual, 916 641 7300 office, 707.342.4722 cell, email@example.com
Stan Sloan can be contacted through his attorneys listed above.