The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religious organization in the world. Many members of the congregation are drawn to the Church under the guidance of Pope Francis and religious orders to receive instructions on their faith. Its religious leaders have set high standards to guide the faithful on their spiritual journey. Unfortunately, many priests and deacons abuse this power to harm others through sexual abuse.
For hundreds of years, Church officials have hidden evidence on thousands of sexual abuse cases involving innocent children and young adults. Only recently have hundreds of accusers come forward making a report of credible allegations of the priest involved in allegations of sexual misconduct with California clergy and priests.
Diocese of Monterey Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Many clergy sexual abuse survivors are fighting back using lawsuits, holding the Roman Catholic Church accountable, and seeking restitution from the predator priests that caused them harm. The actions of the alleged victim could help protect innocent children and adults in the years ahead.
The compassionate attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC believe the Church has failed to protect young parishioners for decades. Our team of experienced legal representatives advocate for the innocent and hold the alleged abusers accountable for the crimes they committed. If a Catholic clergy member sexually assaulted you, contact us today. We will listen to your story in a confidential setting and provide legal options on how to move forward with a claim or civil suit.
Resolving Sexual Molestation Cases
Sexual molestation is a severe problem among Catholics worldwide. Over the last few decades, the Roman Catholic Church in America has resolved thousands of cases through jury trials and negotiated settlement. Currently, the Church has paid out more than $3.8 billion to sexual abuse survivors injured by their clergy.
In many incidents, the religious authority took advantage of the child or adult’s vulnerability. The incidents of child abuse occur in numerous Church settings, including at Christian summer camps, places of worship, in daycare centers, at Sunday school, and Bible study class and other academic or sporting events.
Scared into Silence
Many of the sexually abused survivors are traumatized by the rape, sodomy, oral sex, inappropriate touching, or molestation of a religious leader, coach, teacher, or layperson. The predator often scares the victim into silence using fear and intimidation. Many survivors are terrified of what the predator will do to them if they tell anyone what happened.
As a result, it often takes many years or decades for abused children or young adults to talk about what happened. Many victims will never confront their abuser or tell other members of the congregation that there is a predator in their midst. While it takes bravery to fight back against authority, not every injured sexually assaulted survivor can do it alone.
Holding the Church Accountable
For over twenty years, many sex abuse survivor advocates have identified priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Currently, the California Roman Catholic Church list identifies more than 700 priests and other religious leaders statewide who were accused, charged, convicted, or pled guilty of sexually assaulting an innocent child or young adult. Some clergy members sexually molested more than one victim, and other priests have assaulted and raped hundreds.
Out of the 700 priests, thirty-three of them worked at some point in the Diocese of Monterey. The remainder worked in other dioceses and archdioceses including:
- Archdiocese of Los Angeles
- Archdiocese of San Francisco
- Diocese of Fresno
- Diocese of Oakland
- Diocese of Stockton
- Diocese of Sacramento
- Diocese of San Jose
- Diocese of San Diego
- Diocese of San Bernardino
- Diocese of Santa Rosa
- Diocese of Orange
In January 2019, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey released a list identifying thirty religious leaders accused of sexually molesting children. The record included twelve names that had never been disclosed before. Many of these incidents occurred as far back as the 1950s.
In 2003, the Diocese adopted its Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People to prevent cases involving abuse and help in the investigative process to ensure that victims receive the care they deserved. The list included clergymen that had never been named before, priests who had been laicized (defrocked) or retired, and Reverends who had died before the allegation of sexual molestation arose.
The Charter program helps provide a reconciliation to sexual abuse survivors to ensure they can receive counseling, spiritual guidance, and pastoral care. Due to changes in California statute of limitations law, child sex abuse survivors harmed by predator priests years ago can now file lawsuits and claims to seek compensation from the abuser, clergy, religious order, Diocese of Monterey, bishops, archbishops, and any other clergyman that failed to protect the innocent.
List of Clergymen Accused of Sexual Molestation in the Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles:
The Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Phillip Abinate’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Reverend Abinate was publicly identified on the 2019 Monterey Diocese list involving religious leaders accused of sexually abusing innocent children and adults. The incidents of sexual misconduct reported to Church Officials in 2003 occurred between 1970 and 1975.
Current Status: Died 2008
Battagliola, Alberto (Orlando)
During the late 1990s, a female victim told the Catholic Diocese of Monterey Bishop that Argentine-native Father Alberto (Orlando) Battagliola had sexually assaulted her son in 1974, where he served the church as a San Luis Obispo altar boy. The woman stated that the Reverend often visited the home of the victim. The report alleges Reverend Battagliola took the fourteen-year-old boy one night out on a drive, plied him with alcohol, and engaged in sex that resulted in the boy acquiring a sexual disease. In 1977, the Reverend was murdered in San Francisco. The victim sued the Monterey Diocese in 2003, twenty-six years after the priest’s death.
Current Status: Murdered in 1977
Campbell, Stuart Bede
A court case filed in 2003 or 2004 in Fresno County accused Father Stuart Bede Campbell of sexually assaulting innocent victims from 1956 through 1959, before the creation of the Diocese of Monterey. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles updated list from 2018 notes that Church officials became aware of the Reverend’s inappropriate sexual behavior as early as 2010. These incidents allegedly occurred in 1956/59 and between 1978 and 1980. The priest’s name appears on the 2019 Reno Diocese’s list, 2019 Las Vegas Diocese’s list, and the 2019 Columbus Diocese’s list.
Current Status: Died in 1982 or 1986
Brother Marcos Capistran Chavira was accused of sexually assaulting a male Salinas Home a High School student.
Current Status: Died 2002
The Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Thomas Condon’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Church documents dated 2003 include allegations of Reverend Condon sexually assaulting an innocent victim in 1959.
Current Status: Died 1983
For two years, Reverend Cortes had counseled his sexual assault victim. In April 2009, local law enforcement arrested Father Antonio Cortes on charges of unlawful sexual behavior with an underage boy and plying him with alcohol. The Catholic Diocese of Monterey removed Father Antonio Cortes from the Salinas St. Mary of the Nativity Parish after finding child pornography on his computer. In 2014, the priest pled no contest to fourteen counts. The court system sentenced Father Cortes to a year in jail, followed by probation and required him to register as a sex offender. After his release in December 2012, the California Justice Department issued a warrant because he never registered as a sex offender. Cortes fled to Mexico. In July 2011, the victim filed a civil lawsuit. A settlement was reached with the Diocese of Monterey in 2013.
Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit settlement
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Edward Crews’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Church documents dated 2002 revealed allegations of sexual abuse involving Reverend Edward Crews occurring in 1954.
Current Status: Died 1985
The Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Patrick Daly’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. In 2002, the Diocese’s report revealed credible accusations of abuse involving Reverend Patrick Daly with incidents occurring in 1958. The priest died eight years later in 1966.
Current Status: Died 1966
In 1969, Worchester, MA Trappist monk Father Vincent Dwyer was accused of sexually molesting an underage Monterey Diocese Santa Catalina school female student. The inappropriate sexual activity between Dwyer and his victim continued on and off for more than thirteen years. In 1995, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey reached an agreement with the female plaintiff for $75,000 at the Massachusetts St. Joseph’s Abbey. In 2003, the victim filed suit against the Monterey Diocese and the Santa Catalina school for their failures to prevent Reverend Dwyer from sexually assaulting her. In 1999, Dwyer received numerous honors and awards for his writing and remained active in ministry until 2002.
Current Status: Remains in active ministry
Esquivel, Juan Carlos
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Seminarian Juan Carlos Esquivel’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Church documents reveal that the Seminarian was accused of sexually assaulting a victim in 2007, the same year as the accusation was made.
Current Status: Accused
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Carl Faria’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Church documents show that incidents of sexual assault involving the priest occurred between 1968 and 1971, and again between 1973 and 1976. The Diocese became aware of these incidents in 2002. That same year, the Church removed Reverend Faria’s faculties.
Current Status: Faculties removed 2000
After his ordination in Ireland, Father Edward Fitz-Henry was assigned to work at the Diocese of Monterey for over two decades. In January 2011, Church officials removed Reverend Fitts-Henry after receiving a complaint involving sexual abuse at the Madonna Del Sasso Parish. The Diocese received additional information on accusations of sexual abuse involving an underage child that had been made two decades earlier. The Monterey Diocese Review Board found the evidence to be credible. In February 2011, the victim filed a civil lawsuit. However, the Reverend denied every allegation. In 2012, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey settled with the victim in a negotiated out-of-court agreement for $500,000. That same month, Fitts-Henry filed a lawsuit against the Diocese. That case was settled the following year. Afterward, Fitts-Henry left his ministry and requested defrocking from the church. In 2014, church officials released the Reverend’s personnel files. The Vatican laicized him, removing him from the priesthood.
Current Status: Laicized
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Seminarian Luis Garcia’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Evidence revealed that the abuse occurred in 1982 and was reported to the Catholic Diocese of Monterey Church officials in 2009.
Haskins, Edward T.
Ordained: Prior t0 1934
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Edward T. Haskins’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. A 1996 Dioceses of Monterey report identified Father Haskins’ inappropriate sexual behavior that occurred in the 1950s through the 1960s.
Current Status: Died 1981
The Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Seminarian Manuel Jimenez’s accusation with credible evidence that he sexually assaulted innocent victims. In 1999, the Diocese of Monterey received a report of the seminarian’s inappropriate sexual behavior that occurred in 1994.
Current Status: Accused of inappropriate sexual behavior
In 2003, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey publicly accused Father Gregory Kareta of sexually molesting an eleven-year-old child between 1973 and 1974. An additional three other victims corroborated the charges filed against the priest. However, in 2003, the California court dismissed the criminal charges after a new United States Supreme Court ruling was released. However, Reverend Kareta admitted he had sexually assaulted minors during the 1960s while in Wisconsin. One accuser informed the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1985 of what the priest had done. However, Father Kareta was allowed to remain active in ministry. A 2017 Monterey Diocese report indicates that Church officials had become aware of the Reverend’s inappropriate sexual activity occurring in the 1970s.
Current Status: Died 2006
Marini, Michael A.
In 1985, an alleged male victim filed a lawsuit accusing Father Michael A. Marini and another religious leader of sexually assaulting him when he was thirty years old. The man says that the two priests exploited the problems he had with alcoholism after he sought out counseling with them. The victim says that the men used drugs to get him to participate in abusive acts. Reverend Marini admitted that the sexual activity had occurred once but that he believed that it was consensual. The lawsuit document indicates that abusive behavior occurred numerous times, starting in 1983. The Catholic Diocese of Monterey negotiated a financial settlement with the victim and sent Reverend Marini for counseling before reinstating the priest into active ministry.
Current Status: Retired 2001
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Scott McCarthy’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. In 2002, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey received a report accusing Reverend McCarthy of sexually assaulting an innocent victim in 1976. While the Church initially found the allegation to be not credible, Church officials then deemed the evidence to be credible and removed the priest’s faculties in 2019.
Current Status: Faculties removed 2019
In 2004, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey reached a $760,000 settlement agreement to resolve a civil lawsuit filed in 2003. The plaintiff in the case accused Reverend Michael MacDonald of sexually assaulting him when he was a 10 to 14-year-old boy between 1964 and 1967. During that time, the priest was assigned to the St. Mary of the Nativity Parish.
Current Status: Named in a resolved civil lawsuit
Mengon, Albert (Alberto)
In 2006, court depositions revealed former Richmond Salesian High School teacher, Father Albert (Alberto) Mengon was identified as a sexual abuser. The document states that there were allegations that he sexually assaulted minors at a Salesian camp. During Reverend Mengon’s career, he was also assigned to the Diocese of Oakland and worked in Sierra Leone, West Africa, in 1998 and 2005. As of 2011, he was assigned at Watsonville, CA Our Lady Help of Christians.
Current Status: Accused of inappropriate sexual contact
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Gilbert Meyer’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Church records indicate that in 2010, the Diocese became aware of the allegations involving Reverend Meyer’s inappropriate sexual activity that occurred between 1961 and 1964.
Current Status: Retired
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Felix Migliazzo’s credible accusation that he sexually abused an innocent victim. Between 1967 and 1987, Father Felix Migliazzo served the parishioners of the Monterey Diocese as a Maryknoll Order priest. The church received a report in 2007 that Reverend Migliazzo was accused of sexual molestation in the 1970s.
Current Status: Died 2005
Moore, Charles L.
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Charles L. Moore’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Church records dated 2003 identified Father Charlie Moore with accusations of inappropriate sexual activity occurring in 1974.
Current Status: Died 2007
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Thomas Neary’s credible accusation of sexual molestation with an innocent victim that occurred in 1958. Church officials became aware of the allegations in 2013.
Current Status: Accused of inappropriate sexual contact
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Colman O’Connor’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting an innocent victim. Church officials became aware in 1993 of the accusation involving Reverend O’Connor’s inappropriate sexual behavior. The abuse allegedly occurred in 1979 and 1980.
Current Status: Died 1996
In 2003, eleven years after his death, Father Joseph Pacheco was named in a civil lawsuit involving allegations that he sexually assaulted an underage minor in the 1960s at parishes and Merced and Tulare. In 2006, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey agreed to settle a filed civil lawsuit with the plaintiff for $750,000. Church officials at the Monterey Diocese are aware that there are other victims harmed by Joseph Pacheco’s sexual misconduct.
Current Status: Died 1992
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father John Pierson’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Church documents received in 1995 note that Reverend Pearson was accused, three years after his death, of sexual abuse that occurred between 1973 and 1979.
Current Status: Died 1992
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Joseph Sheehan’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting an innocent victim. In 1992, the Monterey Diocese received a report accusing Reverend Sheehan of sexually assaulting a victim between 1971 and 1975.
Current Status: Deceased
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father Rino Spada’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting an innocent victim. The Diocese received a report in 2011 that Reverend Spada had sexually assaulted an innocent victim between 1967 and 1969.
Current Status: Died 2002
Valdez, Paul R.
In 2002, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey received a report claiming that an eleven-year-old female had told a nun of Father Paul R. Valdez’s inappropriate sexual conduct with her that occurred in 1999. The young victim stated that Reverend Valdez placed his hand on the girl’s groin while she was in the confessional in December 1998. The victim stated that the principal and a teacher embarrassed her in class and dismissed the severity of the charges to Child Protective Services. The victim stated that students were warned not to discuss the incident with anyone. Law enforcement conducted an investigation. However, the District Attorney’s Office did not file charges. In December 1999, the young girl’s parents filed a civil lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Monterey and the priest that was resolved through an out of court settlement. In 2010, Father Valdez remained active in ministry. The January 2019 Monterey Diocese’s list had notes involving the allegations. Church officials reclassified the allegation with non-credible evidence to an accusation with credible evidence. Afterward, the Church removed Reverend Valdez’s faculties.
Current Status: Named in a settled civil lawsuit
In 1990, Father John Velez left the Diocese of El Paso in Texas under a cloud of suspicion. The following year, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey became aware that Reverend Velez and another priest had sexually assaulted an underage minor. Church officials met with the victim’s family. Afterward, the Diocese of Monterey notified the Velez’s Order that they had expelled him from the Church. His Order recalled him back to Mexico and sent an escort to ensure he would return. In 1991, the Diocese stated that they had notified civil authorities of the allegations. In 2003, the victim filed a civil lawsuit against the Diocese and the priest. Church documents reveal allegations of Father John Velez sexually assaulting victims in Tucson, Arizona, and Monterey, California. In May 2009, Church officials for the Monterey Diocese settled the victim’s lawsuit just before the trial began for $1.2 million. Velez’s name appears on the January 2019 Diocese of Monterey list.
Current Status: Deceased
In 1985, an adult male filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Father Joseph Watt and another priest involved the victim in inappropriate sexual conduct. The man stated that both Reverends exploited his alcoholism and used his addiction to participate in sexual acts unwillingly. The victim reported that he had worked at Sacristy and sought out counseling and help from the two priests regarding his addictions. Instead, he stated that the priests plied him with marijuana and drugs to take advantage of his impairment to engage in sexual activity. At the time of the alleged incident, the victim was thirty years old. The Catholic Diocese of Monterey settled the case through a confidential agreement.
Current Status: Retired from the priesthood
In 2019, the Diocese of Monterey publicly exposed Father James Wisecaver’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting an innocent victim. The report alleges that the sexual abuse occurred in 1997. In 1967, Brother James Wisecaver professed his perpetual vows and accepted science and math teaching assignments at high schools in Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii, Gardena, CA, and San Jose, CA. The Brother also served as the Honolulu, HI Chaminade University Dean of Students, and the Archdiocese of San Antonio (Texas) Assistant Superintendent of Schools. During his career, he also worked as a Northridge, California State University education professor.
Current Status: Died 2015
Surviving Sexual Assault
The repercussions of sexual abuse can last for years or decades, where survivors never display any of the warning signs associated with molestation. Some of the indicators that a loved one has been molested could include:
- Anger issues
- Deep depression
- An unexplained negative change in their personality
- Displays of nonsocial behavior
- Participation in criminal activity
- Unusual sexual behavior
The religious authorities harmed many survivors at Church or school, where they were to take solace in their spiritual teachings. Some victims were harmed by the clergy when participating in school activities or serving the Parish as an altar boy.
If you are aware that your loved one was sexually assaulted by a bishop, cardinal, priest, parish pastor, or another religious leader, it is essential to take immediate action to protect the victim. Hiring an attorney is the first step toward ensuring that your loved one’s legal rights are protected. With proper legal representation, you can hold the predatory priest accountable for the horrific act that caused someone you love much pain.
Hiring a Monterey Dioceses Sexual Abuse Attorney
Do you suspect that a loved one was molested, raped, sodomized, or injured by sexual abuse by a priest or other religious leader? If so, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today. We can discuss your case in a confidential setting and provide numerous legal options on how to proceed. With the California Church sexual abuse lawyer on your side, we can ensure a successful resolution of your financial compensation claim.
We accept every personal injury case and sexual abuse civil lawsuits through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement ensures that our services are paid only after we have successfully resolved the case through a jury trial award or a negotiated settlement. We accept cases involving predator religious leaders who are still active “in ministry,” currently on a leave of absence, in retirement, removed from the priesthood (laicized), or dead.