Catholic Church

Man Alleges He Was Abused by Priest While at Catholic High School

"It's time for this serial offender to be exposed in a way he never has been,'' a lawyer said.

NBCLA

Saying it is time for every diocese and religious order in the state to come clean, attorneys Friday filed the first of six lawsuits by victims who allege they were sexually abused by a priest while attending St. Francis High School in La Canada Flintridge.

During a news conference at the Hilton Checkers Los Angeles hotel downtown, lawyer Jeff Anderson said a new law, known as the Child Victims Act, gives new hope to alleged victims like the plaintiff in the current Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, who is identified only as John Doe LA 1002.

He is suing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and St. Francis High School.

A representative for the archdiocese did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

AB 218 extends the statute of limitations and provides a three-year window for sexual abuse survivors to bring lawsuits in cases that were previously barred by the statute of limitations, no matter when the abuse occurred or how old the survivor is. Attorney Michael Finnegan, who also represents the plaintiff, said the law includes the assessment of triple damages against those found to have covered up the sexual assault of a minor.

Doe was 15 to 17 years old from 1984-86 when he maintains he was abused by the Rev. Christopher Kearney of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, the suit states. In addition to being a student, Doe was an altar server and parishioner, according to the suit.

Live in LA: First of Six Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against Archdiocese & St. Francis School

Live from Los Angeles, California, we reveal and discuss the first of six lawsuits filed under the California Child Victims Act (AB 218) against Saint Francis High School (La Canada Flintridge, CA); the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for child sexual assault by one of its religious order priests – Father Christopher Kearney O.F.M.Cap. – who was stationed at the school between 1970-1995.Full release: https://bit.ly/2tRVSux

Posted by Jeff Anderson & Associates on Friday, December 27, 2019

"Seeing (Kearney) as a trustworthy mentor, plaintiff was conditioned to comply with (Kearney's) direction and to respect him as a person and authority in spiritual ethical and educational matters,'' the suit states.

Kearney was actually grooming Doe, and his actions culminated in his "repeated sexual abuse of plaintiff,'' the suit alleges.

Anderson said dioceses across the state need to come forward and reveal the current whereabouts of accused priests like Kearney.

"It's time for every diocese ... to come clean, to reveal like they never have before,'' Anderson said.

Kearney has been living in San Francisco and poses a serious risk to children, he said.

"It's time for this serial offender to be exposed in a way he never has been,'' he said.

Attorney Michael Reck, who also represents the plaintiff, said the church has been tight-lipped about Kearney.

"We have not been told whether he is still a priest or if he has access to children,'' Reck said.

Attorneys for the same law firm have filed a similar suit in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of two former Mater Dei students.

Live in Orange: Mater Dei High School and Diocese of Orange Named in Multiple Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Live in Orange, California, we reveal two lawsuits brought against Mater Dei, a prestigious private school in Santa Ana that was home to multiple child sexual assault offenders throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and the Diocese of Orange for the actions of known perpetrator Monsignor Michael Harris and its role in the institutional cover-up of child sexual assault. The lawsuits are being brought under the new California Child Victims Act (AB 218).Full release: https://tinyurl.com/rv28ytk

Posted by Jeff Anderson & Associates on Friday, December 27, 2019
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