In a wide-ranging complaint that calls out the sexual misconduct of more than two dozen priests who at one time worked in the Bay Area, a Southern California man who says he was sexually abused by his parish priest decades ago has sued all Catholic bishops in California, seeking to compel church officials to release records on clergy abuse.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday by Thomas Emens and also naming the Archdiocese of Chicago, claims a civil conspiracy among church officials to cover up clergy assault and move offending priests to other parishes. His lawyer, Jeff Anderson, also issued a report on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles detailing how dozens of accused clergy had moved to different dioceses, including in the Bay Area.
Emens said he was abused for two years starting in 1978 when he was 10 by a Monsignor Thomas Joseph Mohan, who was ordained a priest in Chicago and transferred in 1972 to St. Anthony Claret Parish in Anaheim, then in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
Anderson said the goal of the so-called “nuisance” lawsuit is to force the church to reveal the names of all priests accused of child molestation — a declaration that the diocese in San Jose and San Diego recently announced they were doing on their own.
Full story at San Jose Mercury News.
California bishops respond to latest lawsuit
The California Catholic Conference (CCC) and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles say a new lawsuit filed against the bishops of California is based on cases that are many years old and does not reflect the current practices in place in California dioceses.
Jeff Anderson and Associates announced in an Oct. 2 press conference that it had filed a “nuisance lawsuit” against the California Catholic Conference and 11 of California’s 12 dioceses, including Los Angeles, and also the Archdiocese of Chicago.
But in separate statements, the California Conference and the Los Angeles Archdiocese both pointed out that the lawsuit is based on old cases and information that has long been known to the public.
“The Archdiocese has acknowledged and taken responsibility for the failures and mistakes in the way abuse cases were handled in the past and instituted a strict “zero tolerance” policy to ensure that allegations of abuse would be reported to authorities and that anyone found to have committed abuse — whether a priest, deacon, religious or lay person — would be held accountable and permanently removed from ministry in the Archdiocese,” the archdiocese said.
The California Conference also pointed out that “none of the information provided describes the positive steps taken by California dioceses over the past 15 years to protect children and young people from abuse.”
Full story at Angelus News.