Manny Vega, of Oxnard, is suing the Vatican and taking on Pope Francis in pursuit of the one thing he’s convinced his nearly 20-year-fight as a clergy abuse survivor and victim advocate has not brought.
The litigation, filed Wednesday in federal court for the Central District of California, alleges Vatican leaders have orchestrated a cover-up of priests accused of abuse and top church leaders who have concealed evidence of the abuse.
In what the lawyers who crafted it called an unprecedented action against the Holy See, the lawsuit alleges the conspiracy has created peril that justifies the release of the names of offenders, all records of accused abusers across the globe and the names of top church officials involved in the cover-up.“We’ve come to the sorrowful realization that the problem is at the top,” lawyer Jeff Anderson said at a news conference Thursday in Los Angeles.
Vega, 52, is the second Ventura County resident to file a clergy abuse lawsuit this week. On Tuesday, Tom Emens, 50, of Camarillo, stood in front of a microphone in a Los Angeles hotel with his lawyer, Anderson, and said he was sexually abused at the age of 10 by a retired priest who had transferred from the Archdiocese of Chicago to St. Anthony Claret Catholic Church in Anaheim.
Like Vega’s suit, Emens’ calls for the release of church records. Emens’ lawsuit against the California Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and dioceses across California alleged church leaders conspired to conceal information about accused priests.
Vega and other altar boys at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Oxnard said they were molested repeatedly by Father Fidencio Silva-Flores. He described the acts that happened from about 1979 to 1984 at the news conference, arguing people can’t understand the impact without knowing what took place.
“We were raped. … We were fondled. We were sodomized,” he said, adding that the impact of the molestation will never leave him. “It still gives me nightmares. This has been my life.”
Full story at The VC Star.