It’s one of first of many to be filed thanks to new state law
Credibly accused predator is still on the job but fled toMexico
At a news conference, a clergy sex abuse victim and his attorney will announce the filing of a child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit (to be filed on October 15th) involving a priest who’s still on the job despite admitting his abuse to a bishop and being criminally charged.
The case is one of many expected to be filed in the months ahead thanks to a brand-new state law that gives victims of even very old child sex crimes a chance to file civil lawsuits and hold perpetrators and their protectors accountable.
TOMORROW, Tuesday, Oct. 15th at 11:00 a.m.
The Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D., 601 University Avenue, Suite 230, Sacramento, CA
A man who was victimized as a child and his attorney, who is also a psychologist and who has represented hundreds of child sex abuse victims.
A flood of new child sexual abuse and cover up lawsuits is expected soon across California. Last month, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 218. On Sunday, October 13th, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed that measure into law. It provides a three-year window for anyone who was molested as a child in to use the court system to expose those who committed and concealed the crimes, regardless of when the crimes were committed.
In 1983-84, Fr. Jose Antonio Pinal (a.k.a. Fr. Jose Antonio Pinal Castellanos) sexually abused a 14 year old boy in Gridley, California and in Mexico. In 1989, that young man, Juan Ricardo Torres, reported his sexual abuse to his pastor and he and his parents met with the diocesan lawyer and another church staffer. The two promised Torres and his mother that church officials would closely watch Fr. Pinal and that he would be kept away from children.
In March 1989, Fr. Pinal fled to Mexico where, even now, he continues to work as a priest. In 1991 he admitted the abuse in a letter to a bishop. According to the suit, the Sacramento diocese’s ‘Sensitive Issues Committee’ was following Fr. Pinal as late as June 1991, even though he had already left the US.
In 2003, 15 years after the initial report to church authorities, Pinal was finally reported to the police and charged with two felony counts under a (then) new California criminal law that would have allowed prosecution of cases that were beyond the statute of limitations. The charges were dropped when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against that then new law (in what is now known as the Stogner case).
Fr. Pinal worked at Sacred Heart in Gridley from 1980 – 1986 and at St. Anthony in Winters from 1986-1989.
On April 30, 2019, the Diocese of Sacramento released a list of clergy who are credibly accused of child sexual abuse. Father Jose Antonio Pinal was on said list with 5 known victims, 1 boy and 1 girl under the age of 14 and 3 boys under the age of 18.
The lawsuit charges that Sacramento Catholic officials had actual knowledge of Fr. Pinal’s criminal sexual misconduct as early as January 1989 but never reported him to police. The lawsuit also charges the Diocese should have known of Pinal’s sexual assaults of children prior to the formal report.
Juan Ricardo Torres recently received in the mail an unsolicited Victim Compensation Program packet from the Diocese of Sacramento. Juan Ricardo Torres will warn all other victims who received such packets to first learn about their options and rights and to be aware that they may never discover the truth about their perpetrator and church hierarchy cover-up without civil litigation.
Instead of protecting kids from Fr. Pinal, as they promised to Juan Ricardo Torres and his parents in 1989, the suit charges that Sacramento’s bishop agreed to let Pinal keep working as a priest in Cuernavaca provided that a) the Mexican diocese would assume full responsibility for “all of (his) conduct and compensation”, b) the Mexican bishop would protect (the Sacramento diocese) “against any financial liability for any acts (he) committed while working in Mexico,” and c) Fr. Pinal authorize Sacramento’s bishop “to make full disclosure to the (Mexican) bishop of the diocese of all information” about him. (see attached). Despite this “deal” that was struck with Pinal, the Sacramento Diocese website indicates that Pinal’s faculties were removed in 1989.
Dr. Joseph C. George (916) 641-7300; (916) 802-7949 (cell),
Maricar A. Pascual (916) 641-7300; (707) 342-4722 (cell)