LA Archdiocese Hit With Sex Abuse Lawsuit

The alleged victims say the abuse began when he was 13 years old at the hands of a man who "abused trust"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After years of scandals and lawsuits, the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles is facing new legal action. Hetty Chang reports from Baldwin Park for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014)

    The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles faced new legal action Tuesday after a lawsuit was filed alleging sexual abuse by a former volunteer.

    Alleged victim Robert Reynolds, 23, claims he suffered repeated acts of childhood sexual abuse, including multiple acts of sodomy at the hands of Timothy Lawrence Kovacs, a licensed family and marriage therapist who volunteered with St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Temple City, said Reynolds’ attorney, Michael Kinslow, at a press conference Tuesday.

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    Cardinal Roger Mahony and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are among those named in the lawsuit.

    "It's just horrendous. I can't even imagine what it would be like to endure repeated acts of oral copulation and sodomy," Kinslow said.

    Reynolds spoke for the first time about the alleged abuse, which he said began when he was 13 years old.

    "I need to come forward and make sure other people don't fall into a trap like I did," Reynolds said of the man he considered a family friend. "He became very close with my family and me, and he abused the trust we gave him. It's unfortunate."

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    A statement from the LA Archdiocese said Kovacs was a coordinator at the parish from 2002 until 2005.

    "The parish removed him from ministry after a complaint was made to the parish of alleged inappropriate conduct with two young adults over the age of 18," the statement read.

    The Archdiocese was not advised of the matter in 2005, according to the statement.

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    June Sidwell, Reynolds' mother, said she had a strange feeling about Kovacs but never acted on it.

    "There was one moment when he first started showing a lot of interest in my son that I said, 'I feel like that's a little weird,'" Sidwell said.

    After Kovacs was removed from the parish, he was hired by the Baldwin Park Unified School District, where is employed as an assistant director of early childhood education, NBC4 confirmed.

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    Kovacs was placed on administrative leave in October 2013 after the district learned he was under investigation by the sheriff's department, according to a district spokesman.

    Kovacs’ private practice in Monrovia did not respond to NBC4 for comment, and his attorney said Tuesday he had not seen the lawsuit and therefore could not comment.

    In March 2013, the LA Archdiocese apologized to priest abuse victims, including one of whom said his "faith has been shattered." The Archdiocese reached a $9.9 million settlement with four victims of a former priest who "deceived parishioners, therapists, church leaders and most of all, his victims."

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