Alexa

2nd sex abuse suit against Santa Rosa diocese

2nd sex abuse suit against Santa Rosa diocese

A man who claimed he was sexually abused as a child by an Irish priest filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa _ the second such alleging the church knew the priest was facing abuse charges in Ireland, but failed to warn the parish.
The lawsuit, filed in Sonoma County Superior Court, alleged that Rev. Patrick McCabe abused the man almost weekly during most of 1983, when McCabe was assigned to St. Bernard's church as associate pastor. The alleged victim, who was 11 at the time, attended the school attached to St. Bernard's in Eureka, California.
McCabe's attorney and the diocese's spokeswoman didn't immediately return calls Thursday.
A 2009 report by Irish officials showed accusations of abuse first surfaced against McCabe in 1982, and refer to incidents dating back to the 1970s. It recounted how Dublin officials dealt with the allegations by sending McCabe to a treatment facility for sexual offenders in New Mexico, then securing a position for him in the Santa Rosa diocese.
The Archbishop in Dublin knew Mark Hurley, who was then Bishop of Santa Rosa, and in a letter cited in the Irish report, asked Hurley for help dealing with a problematic priest. Hurley then placed McCabe in St. Bernard's.
"Hurley's placing McCabe there as a known pedophile certainly upset him," said Joseph George, who is representing the man filing the lawsuit. The man wishes to remain anonymous.
By 1985, McCabe was pulled from the Eureka church after allegations of child abuse emerged there as well. He had a brief assignment in Guerneville.
Too many years have passed for criminal charges to be brought against McCabe. Instead, George brought a civil lawsuit against the diocese _ not the priest _ for negligence and fraud _ for allegedly misrepresenting to the congregation McCabe's fitness to work around children.
The diocese was sued last week by another man making similar allegations who was also represented by George. The validity of this legal strategy, used in several other pending cases, has yet to be decided in California court.
The priest currently is facing extradition to Ireland, to face decades-old charges of sex abuse.
The civil lawsuits will not interfere with McCabe's extradition, said George, because the matter there is criminal. Also, the lawsuits filed in California are against the diocese, not the priest.
The plaintiff is seeking to recover costs related to therapy and the distress suffered.
"We have never talked money," said George. "It's more about accountability. If the diocese stepped forward and said 'We screwed up,' a lot of people would be much happier."


Updated : 2021-04-19 04:48 GMT+08:00