Case is possible due to brand new state abuse law
It takes effect in 2 days & will likely bring hundreds of suits
Cleric was in Sac & Santa Rosa & reportedly molested dozens of kids
Three adult men are suing two northern California Catholic dioceses for the sexual abuse they suffered as kids in the 1960s and 1970s.
They are represented by a Sacramento attorney who is apparently the first in the state to use a new law that enables perhaps thousands of child sexual assault victims to file cases in civil courts by temporarily suspending the statute of limitations. That measure is expected to generate hundreds – if not thousands – of such cases beginning next month when it takes effect.
The suit charges that Fr. Patrick M. Gleeson sexually assaulted each of them repeatedly and that their church supervisors “knew or had reason to know” that he was “dangerous and unfit.” The lawsuit documents childhood sexual abuse by Gleeson at consecutive assignments in Garberville, Calistoga, and Napa.
Over a career that spanned five decades, Fr. Gleeson worked at these northern California assignments:
Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Sacramento (1948-1950)
Our Lady of the Redwoods in Garberville (1951-1967)
Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Calistoga (1967-1975)
St. Apollinaris in Napa (1976-1984) and
St. Joseph’s Church in Cotati (1985-1991).
According to the suit, Sloan was abused from age 14-17 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Calistoga and in Las Vegas. Doe 129 was abused from age 10-16 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Calistoga, St. Apollinaris in Napa, and in San Francisco. Doe 130 was also abused from age 10-17 at the Our Lady of the Redwoods.
“It’s an honor to help these brave victims,” said Dr. Joseph C. George, an attorney/psychologist who represents the three men. “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.”
In 2002, an Amador County man filed a civil abuse and cover up lawsuit against the Santa Rosa diocese charging that he was abused as a boy by Fr. Gleeson several times from 1968-1972 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Calistoga. At the time Santa Rosa church officials claimed that they knew of no previous accusations against Fr. Gleeson.
That case, and another one involving Fr. Gleeson, was settled in 2005 as part of a $7.3 million deal with eight victims.
In January, Fr. Gleeson was identified on the Santa Rosa diocese's “credibly accused” list.
Fr. Gleeson was a native of Ireland but was ordained for the Sacramento diocese in or around 1947. He was incardinated into the Santa Rosa diocese, retired in 1989 and died at the age of 66 in 1991.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org).
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, 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 is a licensed attorney/psychologist and has represented hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual assault. Dr. George and Stan Sloan are available for comment via phone.
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.