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San Diego Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer

San-Diego-Diocese-Clergy-Abuse-LawyersThrough teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, many baptized children and young adults reaching their age of reason validate the power of their faith through confirmation. These young parishioners accept the teachings from the Vatican, Pope Francis, and religious leaders. The faithful seek enlightenment and reflection at their local Church to deepen their commitment to repent and confess. Sadly, many priests, bishops, cardinals, deacons, and other clergymen abuse their moral obligation to protect, and instead, harm young people through sexual abuse.

In recent years, the United States Catholic Bishops have sought guidance from the Vatican to handle sexual misconduct in every Catholic Diocese, including the Catholic Diocese of San Diego. Recent reports indicate that approximately 79% of Americans recognize that clergy abuse remains an ongoing problem that reflects how the Church handles Parish priests with credible allegations of sexually abusing minors in the years passed.

Over the last two decades, cases involving victims of priestly sex abuse have dominated national headlines. For years, Church officials failed to release the names of priests with allegations of sexual abuse of children. Hiding the Catholic priest’s sexual misconduct from law enforcement and the public has placed a bad light on the religious organization. The internal life of the California Church was rocked when child abuse survivors came forward, took legal action, and filed civil lawsuit documents to hold the Church accountable.

San Diego Diocese Sexual Assault Attorney

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC work as legal advocates for all victims of alleged abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego. With our comprehensive understanding of California tort law, we work to protect our client’s rights when dealing with the Catholic Church. We work diligently to ensure that our clients receive maximum financial compensation from recovering their damages. If you were injured through sexual misconduct by a clergy member in any California dioceses, contact us today to discuss your legal options.

We will provide a safe, confidential environment to discuss the details of your case. Afterward, we will offer numerous legal options on how to proceed to help you seek justice and hold the predator, church officials, Catholic priest, and Parish legally and financially accountable. Time is of the essence. The California statute of limitations restricts the time limit you have to ensure a successful resolution of your case. Let us help determine your eligibility to participate in the Diocese of San Diego independent compensation program.

List of Clergy Abusers in the Diocese of San Diego

Beatty, John

Ordained: 1950

The Diocese of San Diego publicly exposed Father John Beatty’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims.  The 2018 San Diego Diocese list identified Beatty and other religious leaders accused of sexually abusing children and adults. Father John Beatty was a Viatorian Order ordained Parish priest, chaplain, and high school teacher. Up until 1963, the priest ministered parishioners at the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, before relocating to the Diocese of San Diego.

Current Status: Died 1997

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Booth, James T.

Ordained: 1946

In February 2003, a female alleged sexual assault victim filed a lawsuit claiming that Father James T. Booth had molested her during the late 1960s when she was fifteen years old. Later that year, a second female victim filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Reverend Booth sexually abused her between 1965 and 1967. In 1971, the Reverend left twenty-five years of the ministry in the Catholic Church behind to marry a nineteen-year-old woman. The priest denied the allegations, remained in California, and became a priest in the Episcopal Church until he died in 2012.

Current Status: Died 2012

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Bridgette, Sister

In 2003, a lawsuit identified accusations against Sister Bridgette, alleging that the nun had sexually assaulted an underage minor between 1971 and 1972 when the girl lived at the Nazareth House Orphanage. The victim also claims that both Monsignor Brent Egan and Reverend Robert Buchanan sexually assaulted her. In 2006, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit again after the Catholic Diocese of San Diego stop paying for therapy sessions after she had received treatment for one year. Reportedly, Sister Bridgette died in 2003.

Current Status: Likely Deceased

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Buchanan, Robert

Ordained: 1968

In 2003, a civil lawsuit revealed allegations made against Father Robert Buchanan involving sexual molestation of an underage minor at University High School in 1972. The Reverend retired when the accusations of sexual misconduct became public. Reverend Buchanan had been assigned to ministry in Reno, Nevada, for years but remained on the list in the San Bernardino Diocese until his retirement. An article dated 2006 states that the Reverend is “no longer in the ministry.”

Current Status: No longer in the ministry 2006

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Carrillo, Arthur

Ordained: 1970

A letter dated March 2019 by the Passionist Order revealed that the Holy Cross Province had been made aware of allegations that Father Arthur Carrillo sexually molested an underage female during the early 1970s. Church officials removed Reverend Carrillo from ministry while the case was being investigated but the was later reassigned to the Sierra Madre Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center between 1970 and 1975 and again between 1987 and 1994.

Current Status: Accused

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Chavarin, Jose

In June 2008, Father Jose Chavarin, a Mexican native, faced accusations of sexually assaulting three underage males during the 1980s in San Diego. Church officials at the Archdiocese of San Francisco placed Reverend Chavarin on leave after he had served eleven years at the Metropolitan Tribunal. When confronted, the priest denied allegations before fleeing to Mexico. As of September 2019, Father Jose Chavarin’s name remained on the Diocese of San Diego’s list.

Current Status: Fled to Mexico

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D’Amora, Edito

Ordained: 1980

Father Edito D’Amora’s name appears on the 2007 San Diego Diocese’s list of religious leaders with credible allegations of sexual misconduct. Before that, Reverend D’Amora served as a Dipolog Diocese priest in the Philippines. In 2010, church officials released the Reverend’s personnel files with notes of accusations that he had sexually assaulted a ten-year-old girl on at least two separate occasions in 1991. These incidents occurred years before while he was serving ministry as a Navy Chaplain. Father D’Amora was part of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego’s 2005 settlement. Currently, the San Diego Diocese states that D’Amora remains a part of the Navy.

Current Status: Unknown

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Daly, John Joseph

Ordained: 1951

San Diego law enforcement arrested Father John Joseph Daly on charges that he sexually assaulted a sixteen-year-old male in 1977. The Reverend already had two other arrests in other counties or states on charges of sexual molestation. Daly’s current charges were dropped after the San Diego Diocese Bishop visited the District Attorney’s Office. Church officials reassigned the priest several times. In 2002, a victim filed a civil lawsuit. Although the lawsuit was set to go to trial in March 2007, the judge dismissed the case two months earlier. Father John Joseph Daly’s name was not a part of the 2007 San Diego diocese list identifying abuse of predatory priests.

Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit

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Damasco, Nelson

Father Nelson Damasco name appears on the 2007 San Diego Diocese’s list of religious leaders with credible evidence supporting allegations of sexual misconduct. The Reverend served between September 1980 and January 1982 at the San Diego Diocese after ministering in the Philippines at the Nueva Segovia Diocese.

Current Status: Died 1988

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De Francisco, Luis Eugene

Between 1962 and 1963, Father Luis Eugene De Francisco was assigned for ministry at the Catholic Diocese of San Diego. In August 1963, local law enforcement arrested Reverend De Francisco on charges of abusing underage children of migrant workers. After his arrest, the priest returned to Columbia. During his ministry in the United States, he was assigned to dioceses in Florida and Texas. In 2007, the Diocese of San Diego publicly exposed Father Luis Eugene De Francisco with credible evidence of allegations involving sexual misconduct.

Current Status: Likely died in the early 1990’s

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Doxie, Donald F.

Ordained: 1952

In December 2003, a civil lawsuit revealed accusations that Father Donald F. Doxie had sexually assaulted an underage male beginning in 1969 when the boy was fifteen years old through 1972. Doxie was Bishop Buddy’s secretary (1955/1957). Between 1957 and 1961, he served as a Navy chaplain and then Vice-Chancellor from 1961 through 1968. The Catholic Church released the Reverend’s personnel file in October 2010.

Current Status: Died 1976

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Eagen, I. Brent

Ordained: 1956

In 2003, Father I. Brent Eagen’s name appeared in a civil lawsuit where a female victim alleged that the Monsignor had raped her in 1972 after befriending her at a Diocese-run orphanage (Nazareth House). At the time, Reverend Eagen was the nearby Mission Parish priest and later became the San Diego Diocese Chancellor. In response to the lawsuit, the Diocese of San Diego revealed Reverend Eagen’s exemplary record and showed that there were no other allegations of misconduct. The female victim also alleged she had been abused by a Nun and handyman at the orphanage and was sexually assaulted by another priest, Father Robert Buchanan. Church officials released Reverend Eagen’s personnel file in October 2010.

Current Status: Died 1997

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Flynn, Herman Francis

Ordained: 1929

The name of Canadian born Father Herman Francis Flynn appeared on the 2007 San Diego Diocese list of religious leaders with credible accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior. Before the priest’s assignment in the Diocese of San Diego, Reverend Flynn worked at parishes in Virginia, Michigan, and South Carolina.

Current Status: Died 1977

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French, Michael

Ordained: 1964

In September 2018, the Diocese of San Diego publicly exposed Father Michael French’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. In 2003, Church officials became aware that the Reverend had sexually assaulted an underage minor in 1980. The Catholic Diocese of San Diego settled with the victim through an out of court negotiation. Reverend French’s personnel record revealed he had been “released from Diocesan Assignment” while working at the Diocese of Brooklyn and had worked as a Benedictine Convent chaplain in 1975. The priest had also been in the Diocese of San Diego since 1973, taking classes at the California School of Professional Psychology. Father French worked as the Director of Worldwide Marriage Encounter and Director of Catholic Community Services.

Current Status: Died 1995

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Galindo, Rudolph

Ordained: 1954

Father Rudolph Galindo faced accusations that he had inappropriate sexual conduct with a Vietnamese altar boy. Although the Reverend denied the allegations, the Church settled a civil lawsuit with the victim’s family in 1985 for $75,000. Church officials removed Reverend Galindo from the ministry before the lawsuit had been filed. However, he was later reassigned to active ministry. The Catholic Diocese of San Diego permanently removed Reverend Galindo in 2002 after he admitted to sexually molesting three underage children. In all, seven victims filed lawsuits.

Current Status: Settled lawsuits

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Ganahl, James A.

Ordained: 1956

In 2007, the Catholic Diocese of San Diego released the name of Father James A. Ganahl on a list with other religious leaders who had credible allegations involving inappropriate sexual activity. Church documents released in 2010 revealed Reverend Ganahl had been accused of sexually assaulting four underage females between 1961 and  1963. In 1999, the female victims negotiated a settlement with the San Bernardino Diocese. In 2002, the Diocese of San Diego reported the allegations to local law enforcement. However, at that time, the family decided not to pursue any criminal charges against Father James Ganahl.

Current Status: Died 2010

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Gill, Paul

Ordained: 1966

In September 2002o, a filed civil lawsuit alleges that Father Gill had sexually assaulted an underage male in 1977. The incident allegedly occurred in the parish rectory and while on a New Hampshire trip. Documents reveal that the victim waited to tell his parents of the 1977 incident until 2002. At that time, the parents discussed the issue with the Catholic Diocese of San Diego. Although church officials had allowed Gill to retire in 1998, they officially barred him from public ministry after the discussion with the victim’s parents. A second male victim stepped forward and filed a separate civil lawsuit in June 2003. His allegations indicate that Father Gill had sexually assaulted him in 1975. In March 2007, Reverend Gill’s name appeared on a list of priests identified with credible evidence of sexual misconduct.

Current Status: Removed from public ministry

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Higgins, Michael

Ordained: 1964

Church officials removed Father Michael Higgins from active ministry after allegations arose that he had solicited sex from a parishioner in a confessional. Reverend Higgins denied the accusations and appealed to the Vatican to have his case heard. In 1987, the Reverend filed a civil lawsuit against San Diego Diocese Bishop Maher, claiming that he had been falsely accused of inappropriate sexual contact. The Reverend claimed that the Vatican had reversed the decision made by the San Diego Diocese Bishop and that he could now retire as a priest. However, the Diocese did not agree with Father Higgins’ claim and said that the Pope had affirmed the Bishop’s decision to remove Higgins’ ministry privileges.

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct

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Holtey, Gary Michael

Ordained: 1984

In May 2004, Church officials placed Father Gary Michael Holtey on leave while an investigation was ongoing involving an international child pornography ring. Both federal agents and local police searched the St. Charles Borromeo Parish offices and seized the rectory computers. In February 2005, Reverend Holtey pled guilty to ten counts of possessing child pornography (a misdemeanor). The judge sentenced the priest to three years of probation. Reverend Father Gary Michael Holtey’s name can be found on the Maryland sex offender archive but not the national registry of sex offenders.

Current Status: Possibly living in Maryland

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Houck, Richard L.

Ordained: 1965

In 2018, the Diocese of San Diego publicly exposed Father Richard L. Houck’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Allegations involving Reverend Houck accuse the priest of sexually molesting a ten-year-old Chula Vista Most Precious Blood Parish altar boy in 1968. In 2004, the victim stepped forward to make claims and receive a negotiated settlement.

Current Status: Died 2002

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Hughes, Patrick J.

Ordained: 1953

Ireland-native Father Patrick J Hughes faced allegations of sexually assaulting a twelve-year-old male in Ireland in 1974. The accusations state that the Reverend had settled with the victim and his family. In 1988, Father Hughes excardinated (transferred to another diocese) to the Diocese of San Diego on the recommendation of a Bishop in Ireland. Between 1988 and 1992, Reverend Hughes served the San Diego Diocese on three different assignments before his reassignment for one year at the Archdiocese of Seattle. In 2010, the Reverend pled guilty in Ireland to sexually assault of one innocent victim between 1979 and 1983. The Irish courts sentenced Reverend Hughes to a year in jail.

Current Status: Sentenced to one year in Irish jail

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Keith, John Charles

Ordained: 1956

In 1957, Father John Charles Keith was ordained into the Jesuit Order and relocated to San Diego, where he was incardinated (taking into the diocese) in 1961. A 1985 filed lawsuit named Father Keith as a sexual assaulter. In 1999, the lawsuit was settled for $95,000. However, the Reverend failed to admit any wrongdoing. The victim’s mother stated that she repeatedly complained to the San Diego Diocese of what the priest had done. However, Church officials took no action, and Keith denied the charges. The Reverend did admit he was a recovering alcoholic.

Current Status: Died 2003

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Koerner, Robert S.

Ordained: 1937

In 2002, the San Diego Diocese Bishop first became aware that Father Robert S. Koerner had sexually assaulted several underage children during the twenty-seven years he had spent in ministry in California. The Bishop apologized to church parishioners three years after the Reverend passed away in 1999. In July 2013, the Reverend’s Order released the priest’s personnel files. The documents revealed that Father Koernerhad admitted he had kissed and fondled girls and boys. In 2003, the Reverend’s name appeared in three lawsuits and four settlements. In January 2020, a lawsuit was filed by five alleged victims under the newly enacted California Child Victims Act. The plaintiffs accused Father Robert Koerner of sexually molesting them from the late 1960s through the 1980s. The priest had worked in Texas parishes between 1937 and 1941, in Montana between 1956 and 1963 and at the Calipatria, CA St. Patrick’s Parish between 1963 and 1990.

Current Status: Died 1999

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Kowalczyk, Adalbert (Albert) J.

Ordained: 1938

In 2002, Father Adalbert (Albert) J. Kowalczyk’s name appeared in a civil lawsuit involving allegations that he had sexually assaulted at least one underage girl. However, the sexual abuse incident had occurred in 1993. As a result, the court dismissed the case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Reverend Albert Kowalczyk’s name also appeared on a Diocese of San Diego list of predatory priests that had credible evidence to support allegations involving inappropriate sexual activity.

Current Status: Possibly deceased

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Kraft, William Armstrong

Ordained: 1951

Allegations arose accusing Father William Armstrong Kraft of sexually molesting several underage children, including at least one female between 1953 and 1970. In 2001, the Catholic Church settled a civil lawsuit concerning the allegations for $250,000. Two years later, more lawsuits were filed. One document alleges the Reverend sexually abused an underage male beginning in 1969, lasting five years. In 2007, the Catholic Diocese of San Diego settled claims as part of the Church’s $198.1 million negotiated settlement.

Current Status: Died 2001

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Kurlandski, Lawrence

Ordained: 1942

Father Lawrence Kurlandski’s name appeared in a civil lawsuit filed in 2003 involving accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct. The female victim claims that Reverend Kurlandski sexually assaulted her at the Fontana, CA St. Joseph Church between 1947 and 1949.

Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit

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Lally, George

Ordained: 1968

After his ordination in the Providence Rhode Island Dioceses, Father George Lally incardinated (transferred to another diocese) to the Diocese of San Diego, likely in 1970. In 2002, an alleged victim filed a civil lawsuit accusing Reverend Lally of sexually assaulting him on numerous occasions in 1971. At the time of the alleged incidents, church officials had assigned the priest to the El Centro St. Mary’s parish. The victim, who was then nine years old, reported what happened to the St. Mary’s pastor just before Lally was reassigned. The Roman Catholic Church agreed to pay the victim’s college costs. As of the mid-1970s, Father Lally’s name did not appear in the Catholic Directories. In 1979 Lally left the priesthood to marry a former Catholic Sister before settling down in California.

Current Status: Married and living in California

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Langille, Justin

Ordained: 1980

In October 2018, Church officials suspended Father Justin Langille following credible allegations of his inappropriate sexual conduct with an underage girl during the early 1990s. The San Diego Diocese became aware of the allegations a few years later. By 2002, the Church reviewed the case again. At that time, Reverend Langille passed a lie detector (polygraph) test. The Roman Catholic Church “unassigned” the priest between 1996 and 2007, and allowed him to work at the New Jersey Contemplative Outreach International facility before being reassigned to active ministry at the Diocese of San Diego. The Catholic Review Board found that there was “significant new information” in 2018 that led officials to remove Father Langille from his position.

Current Status: Removed from ministry

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Marron, Michael Victor

Ordained: 1930

In 2006, the Diocese of San Diego released the names of clergymen, including Father Michael Victor Marron,  with credible allegations that they sexually assaulted innocent victims. Irish-native Marron incardinated (transferred to another diocese) to San Diego from the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland. After arriving in America, he was assigned to numerous parishes in and around San Diego between 1961 and 1963. The Bishop requested that the priest leave the Diocese. The Catholic Church released the Reverend’s personnel file in October 2010. Church documents revealed a 1963 letter indicating that Father Marron was “overly familiar” with underage minors, especially girls. Michael Marron is the brother of a known sexual abuser, Reverend Peter J Marron.

Current Status: Deceased

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Marron, Peter Joseph

Ordained: 1936

Irish-native Father Peter Joseph Marron arrived in America at sixteen years old. In 2007, the Diocese of San Diego released a list of predatory priests, including Peter Marron, with credible evidence of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Between 1945 and 1969, Reverend Peter Marron served the military as a Navy chaplain. In January 2020, two female victims filed a civil lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, making claims that Peter Marron had sexually molested them between 1976 and 1977 (or 1978). Father Peter Marron is the brother of a known sexual predator, Reverend Michael Marron.

Current Status: Died 1998

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McGinn, Malachy M.

Ordained: 1961

Before Ireland-native Father Malachy M. McGinn was ordained and assigned to the San Diego Diocese, he was a member of the Salesian Order. In March 2007, the Diocese of San Diego released information identifying predatory priests who had credible allegations of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Reverend McGinn was also assigned to work in the Diocese of San Bernardino. In 1993, accusations arose that Father McGinn had had an ongoing sexual relationship with a twenty-one-year-old woman in 1968 while he was assigned to the Palm Springs, CA Our Lady of Solitude Parish. Father McGinn’s personnel file noted that Church officials were aware of the priest’s sexual assault accusations in incidents that occurred between 1969 and 1981.

Current Status: Died 1997

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McNamara, Patrick Carl

Ordained: 1980

In March 2007, the Diocese of San Diego released a list with the names of predatory priests, including Father Patrick Carl McNamara, with credible allegations that they had sexually assaulted innocent victims. Before Reverend McNamara was ordained into the Catholic Church, he received a law degree. In 1993, McNamara took a sabbatical to study. In 1994, the Reverend went on a leave of absence and left the priest of one year later. Afterward, he married. In 2010, Church officials released his personnel file. However, there was no specific information that detailed any allegations of abuse.

Current Status: Left the priesthood and married

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Medaer, Mark/Marc A.

Ordained: 1950

In 2018, the Diocese of San Diego publicly exposed Father Mark/Marc A. Medaer’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. The Reverend worked at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish until about 1959 before he was excardinated (transferred to another diocese) to the Diocese of San Diego. In 2002, In 2018, Reverend Marc Medaer faced accusations that he sexually assaulted an underage male in 1982 while he served at the Calexico Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish as its pastor. Church officials agreed to pay for the victim’s counseling. Over Medaer’s career, he was assigned at archdioceses and dioceses in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, San Antonio, Texas, and Richmond, Virginia.

Current Status: Died 1993

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Mejia, Ricardo

Ordained: 1977

In 2007, the Diocese of San Diego exposed the credible allegations against Father Ricardo Mejia, claiming that he had sexually assaulted innocent victims. In May 1998, Reverend Mejia took a health sabbatical until his retirement in 2006. The San Diego Diocese list identified him as “removed” from the ministry. However, there are no specific details an released Church documents of any accusations of inappropriate sexual activity.

Current Status: Credible allegations of sexual abuse

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Moloney, Thomas

Ordained: 1943

Ireland-native Father Thomas Moloney was incardinated (assigned to a diocese) at the Diocese of San Diego three years after his ordination and 1943. Before beginning ministry in San Diego, Reverend Moloney worked in England for three years until World War II was over. In December 2003, one man filed a civil lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, accusing Reverend Moloney of sexually molesting him in 1963 while the priest was assigned to the Riverside, CA Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. Riverside is now part of the San Bernardino Diocese. In October 2010, the Diocese of San Diego released Moloney’s personnel file that contained a letter dated 2002. The letter stated that a woman told the Bishop that Father Moloney had sexually harassed her in the 1950s while he was at the El Cajon, CA Lady of Grace Parish.

Current Status: Died 1986

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Montagna, Paolino

In 2018, the Diocese of San Diego publicly exposed Father Paolino Montagna’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Church documents indicate that Reverend Montagna worked for the Catholic Diocese of San Diego between 1972 and 1975. The priest was accused of sexually molesting two girls.

Current Status: Likely deceased

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Neri, Ephren

Ordained: Prior to 1945

In November 2019, a civil lawsuit revealed accusations that Father Ephren Neri raped her in 1958 when she was seven years old. At the time of the alleged sexual assault, Church officials had assigned Reverend Neri to the San Bernardino, CA Christ the King Parish. Neri also faced accusations that he had fathered a child in 1958. The priest denied the allegation. Church documents show that the Reverend was on sick leave during 1958 and 1959. Documents from 1960 revealed he was at the Canton, Ohio Servants of the Paraclete Retreat House before being reassigned to active ministry in Fresno, California. Documents also revealed that between 1976 and 1982, he was again on sick leave. Reverend Ephren Neri worked at the Mexico-based Archdiocese of Yucatán and was incardinated (assigned to a diocese) to the Diocese of Fresno in 1965.

Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit

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Nikliborc, Robert Daniel

Ordained: 1955

In December 2003, a civil lawsuit revealed allegations against Father Robert Daniel Nikliborc, accusing him of sexual molestation that occurred between 1963 and 1965. In 2005, a separate civil lawsuit accused Reverend Nikliborc of sexually molesting an underage boy at Boys Town of the Desert when the victim was eleven years old. In 1956, Father Nikliborc went to the Jemez Springs Paraclete Center for treatment. In 1968, he was found guilty and convicted of tax evasion and received the jail sentence of ninety-seven days. Between 1971 and 2001, the Church assigned Reverend Nikliborc to San Diego, CA, Saint Ann’s Church until his retirement. In October 2010, the Catholic Diocese of San Diego released the Reverend’s personnel file.

Current Status: Died 2006

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O’Keeffe, Patrick J.

Ordained: 1959

In 1989, allegations arose against Ireland-native Father Patrick J. O’Keeffe accusing him of sexually assaulting several girls. Reverend O’Keeffe left active ministry in 1994. In 2003, several lawsuits were filed naming the Reverend and the dioceses of San Bernardino and San Diego as defendants. In 2002, law enforcement charged Father Patrick O’Keeffe with abusing another underage girl. O’Keeffe led to Ireland to avoid facing the charges involving the seventeen-year-old victim. After the US Supreme Court ruling, all charges against the priest were dropped. The day before the civil trial was to begin, the Diocese of San Diego filed for bankruptcy. In September 2007, the claims involving the Diocese and Reverend O’Keeffe were settled through a negotiated agreement for $198.1 million. Church officials laicized the Reverend from active ministry.

Current Status: Part of a massive civil lawsuit settlement

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Omemaga, Emmanuel O.

Ordained: 1983

In 1990, Philippine-native Father Emmanuel O. Omemaga arrived at the Catholic Diocese of San Diego. Three years later, Reverend Omemaga was facing forty counts of sexually assaulting a fourteen-year-old female. The incident allegedly occurred in August 1993 when the priest returned from a Mass in Denver, Colorado, said by Pope John Paul II. After the victim’s mother told the Diocese Bishop what occurred between the priest and her daughter, Omemaga confessed. In October 1993, Church officials withdrew Father Omemaga faculties before he fled back to the Philippines to avoid criminal charges. Local law enforcement considered Omemaga a fugitive. The victim filed a civil lawsuit. In March 2007, Reverend Omemaga’s name appeared on the San Diego Diocese’s list of religious leaders with credible evidence of sexually assaulting minors and young adults. As of 2010, Omemaga remains a fugitive from the law.

Current Status: Fled to the Phillipines

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Polizzi, Daniel

Ordained: 1969

The Roman Catholic Church ordained Father Daniel Polizzi for the Diocese of Santa Rosa. In May 1970, Reverend Polizzi was incardinated (assigned to a diocese) to the San Diego Diocese. In 1996, Church officials suspended Polizzi after an underage male who was hospitalized and dependent on a ventilator informed hospital workers that the priest had fondled him. Hospital officials reported the incident to Child Protective Services, the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, and local law enforcement. However, the District Attorney’s Office did not pursue criminal charges. In 1997, the Church “permanently impeded [Polizzi] from priestly ministry.” The Reverend denied the charges. Father Daniel Polizzi’s name appears on the January 2019 Diocese of Santa Rosa list and 2007 Diocese of San Diego list.

Current Status: Died 2003

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Reveles, Nicholas

Father Nicholas Reveles faced accusations of sexually molesting an innocent victim. Church officials might have participated in a secret settlement to resolve a case involving Reverend Reveles.

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Robier, Franz

Ordained: 1936

In 1955, Austria-native Father Franz Robier arrived in San Diego and was incardinated (assigned to a diocese) in 1957 to the Catholic Diocese of San Diego. That same year, Church officials sent Reverend Robier to a New Mexico treatment center in Jemez Springs. In 2003, nine years after his death, Robier was named in civil lawsuits with accusations of sexual molestation, including rape, involving up to two dozen girls. The incidents of sexual misconduct allegedly occurred in the late 1950s until the early 1960s. At that time, the Reverend was working for the San Diego Diocese that later became a part of the Diocese of San Bernardino. In March 2007, the first lawsuit that was going to trial involved accusations made by four sisters. However, the month before, the Diocese of San Diego filed for bankruptcy. In September 2007, the Church settled the claims as a part of their $198 million negotiated agreement.

Current Status: Died 1994

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Rodrigue, Edward Anthony

Ordained: 1962

In 1979, the California court system sentenced Father Edward Anthony Rodrigue to probation for sexually assaulting an underage male. Reverend Rodrigue had admitted he had sexually molested 150 children. In 1978, Rodrigue received a ten-year prison sentence for the sexual abuse of an underage male that occurred in 1997. In 2003, Rodrigue and the Church were named in civil lawsuits filed by at least nineteen alleged victims. In January 2006, the California Department of Corrections released Rodrigue from prison. His name appears on a list of predatory priests released by the San Bernardino and San Diego dioceses. In April 2010, one lawsuit was settled. In December 2019, five more victims filed a civil lawsuit after a new law was enacted, expanding the California statute of limitations. The plaintiffs claim that Father Rodrigue sexually assaulted them when they were minors during the 1960s and 1970s.

Current Status: Received a ten year prison sentence

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Roll, David

Ordained: 1970

A March 2007 San Diego Diocese report identified Father David Roll as a religious leader with credible allegations of sexual abuse. Church documents revealed that his faculties were withdrawn in June 1986. The following month, Church officials placed Reverend Roll on medical leave. That year, Roll was sent to St. Luke’s treatment Center. In 1987, the Church sent Roll to the Paraclete Center for treatment. In March 1993, Father Roll left the ministry to enter disability retirement. In October 2010, the Catholic Diocese of San Diego released his personnel file. The documents contain notes of various accusations of sexual misconduct involving the priest in 1976, and from 1986 or 1987 until 1993 or 1994. A 2002 document also reports Reverend Roll’s sexual inappropriate behavior with at least to young women.

Current Status: On disability retirement: 1993

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Rosell, Joseph (Jose)

Ordained: 1930

A March 2007 Diocese of San Diego report identified a list of priests, including Father Roselle, with credible allegations of sexual molestation. In January 2020, a civil lawsuit filed under the new California Child Victims Act revealed accusations of sexual assault involving two underage female catechism class students. Father Joseph (Jose) Rossell was ordained in Spain for the Son’s of the Holy Family before arriving in Colorado in 1947. In 1953, he arrived in San Diego and was incardinated (assigned to a diocese) the San Diego Diocese in 1954. The Church reassigned him to different locations during his first three years before the priest began working at the National City, CA Saint Anthony’s Parish, between 1956 and 1972. At that time, he entered into retirement and returned to Spain.

Current Status: Named in civil lawsuits

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Russell, Joseph

In January 2020, Father Joseph Russell’s name appeared in a civil lawsuit filed by an alleged sexual abuse survivor under the California Child Victims Act. Throughout Reverend Russell’s career, he has worked in Oceanside, El Cajon, Carlsbad, San Diego, and National City in California.

Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit

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Savord, William R.

Ordained: 1957

In March 2007, a Diocese of San Diego list identified Father William R. Savord as a sexual assault with allegations of molestation. However, Church documents do not reveal details of what occurred. In 1988, Reverend Savord left active ministry after Church officials stripped him of his privileges and reassigned him to the Servants of the Paracletes. In August 1990, Savord resigned from his position due to issues involving his past life. In October 2010, the San Diego Diocese released his personnel file.

Current Status: Died 2004

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Sheehy, Edward Augustine

Ordained: 1940

The Diocese of San Diego publicly exposed Father Edward Augustine Sheehy’s credible accusation of sexually assaulting innocent victims. Reverend Sheehy joined the Paulists Order in 1950 after his ordination from the Portland Diocese in Maine. In March 2019, the Paulist Order publicly identified Father Sheehy as a sexual abuser. In 2003, the San Diego Diocese received an allegation involving Sheehy of sexual abuse occurring in Southern California between 1955 and 1957. During his career, Father Edward Sheehy was assigned to parishes in Johannesburg, South Africa, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Los Angeles. As of May 2019, Father Edward Sheehy’s name appears on the Archdiocese of Baltimore list.

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct

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Sheridan, Gregory Sierra

Ordained: 1935

Before his ordination into the Augustinian Order, Father Gregory Sierra Sheridan was assigned to parishes in California, Nebraska, Texas, and Kansas. In October 1948, Reverend Sheridan arrived in San Diego and was “incardinated (assigned to a diocese) into the Catholic Diocese of San Diego in 1952. The Church made Father Sheridan a Monsignor. In 1983, Monsignor Sheridan retired from the ministry with a Spanish Diocese letter of recommendation. In March 2007, Diocese of San Diego list identified Father Sheridan along with other priests with credible allegations of sexual misconduct. In January 2006, a woman notified the Church that Monsignor Sheridan had sexually molested her in 1969 when she was eight years old. In October 2010, the San Diego Diocese released the Monsignor’s personnel file. In May 2019, two more female alleged victims stepped forward accusing Sheridan of sexually assaulting them when they were girls, over three decades ago. At that time, Sheridan was assigned to the Southcrest, CA Saint Jude Shrine of the West. In October 2019, three more women filed a civil lawsuit against the San Diego Diocese accusing Sheridan of sexually assaulting them in the early 1960s when they were young girls. In January 2020, a woman and five men filed a civil lawsuit claiming Sheridan had sexually assaulted them between 1957 and 1970 while he was assigned to the Saint Jude’s Shrine. One of his victims alleges that Sheridan had violently raped him on numerous occasions when he was between eleven and thirteen years of age. The Church settled at least one claim.

Current Status: Likely deceased

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Spain, William D.

Ordained: 1956

The March 2007 Diocese of San Diego list identified Father William D. Spain with credible evidence that he sexually assaulted an innocent victim. Reverend Spain retired from active ministry in 1986 because of “ill health,” and died seven years later.

Current Status: Died 2010

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Thomas, (Unknown)

Brother Thomas’s name appeared in a civil lawsuit with allegations that he section molested at least one innocent victim

Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit

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Thompson, Matthew J.

Ordained: 1928

The March 2007 Diocese of San Diego lists identified Father Matthew J. Thompson among predatory priests with credible allegations of sexual assault. One alleged victim stepped forward in 2002 accusing Reverend Thompson of sexually molesting him in the late 1950s to early 1960s when the victim served the congregation as a parish altar boy. Other allegations arose as well. In 2007, the Catholic Diocese of San Diego settled the victim’s claim along with other cases for $200 million involving sexual assault committed by Reverend Thompson. The Diocese of San Bernardino, along with Father Thompson’s victims, asked that the City of Corona to rename the street it had named in honor of the Reverend. The City of Corona changed the name of the road in 2009.

Current Status: Died 1976

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Uboldi, Victor

Ordained: 1945

In 1992, a civil lawsuit filed by a female victim alleges that Father Victor Uboldi sexually assaulted her when she was a child between the ages of twelve and seventeen years old. There is at least one other victim that stepped forward to accuse Reverend Uboldi of molestation. In 1982, the priest retired due to ill health and likely relocated to Italy. Uboldi’s name appears on the March 2007 Diocese of San Diego list of predatory priests that have credible allegations of sexual assault. In October 2010, the Diocese of San Diego released the priest’s personnel file.

Current Status: Died 2001

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Valverde, William

Ordained: 1962

In December 2003, Father William Valverde’s name appeared in a civil lawsuit filed by two adult males who allege that the priest sexually assaulted them during the mid-1970s. The alleged sexual abuse survivors state that Reverend Valverde plied them with alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs to engage with them in deviant sex. The March 2007 Catholic Diocese of San Diego report identified Father Valverde on its list of religious leaders who had credible allegations of sexual molestation. Church documents reveal that in 1983, Valverde left in active ministry. Because of clerical errors, the victims in the civil lawsuit were not a part of the San Diego negotiated settlement with other victims in 2007. In April 2008, the San Diego Diocese reached a negotiated settlement that resolved their cases.

Current Status: Left the priesthood 1983

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Vinyard, Barry

Ordained: 1975

In 2003, an adult male filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Father Barry Vinyard sexually assaulted him in 1978 and 1979 when the priest was assigned to the Calexico, CA Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. Reverend Vinyard denied the accusations. The Catholic Diocese of San Diego Bishop accepted the Reverend’s request to retire from the priesthood beginning in January 2004. In October 2010, the San Diego Diocese released Father Vinyard’s personnel file.

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct

Not So Obvious Indicators of Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church remains a global problem. The incidence rate of victimization tends to be higher for young boys compared to girls. For most clergy abuse victims, a Catholic priest perpetrates nearly all cases involving sexual molestation.

Only a small number of cases are ever reported to local law enforcement or the District Attorney’s Office for investigation. Because of that, observing the ‘not so visible’ indicators of child sex abuse can be challenging. Typically, the victim remains silent because the predator scared them into silence through threats, fear, or intimidation.

Many young victims of sexual assault will display:

  • A significant change in their behavior that might involve bedwetting or declining performance at school
  • Baffling changes in their mental or emotional behaviors
  • Unexplained fear when around particular individuals
  • Pain or discomfort in the anal or genital area
  • Secretive behavior or withdrawal from others

Not every indicator listed above proves that the child was sexually assaulted. However, if you are concerned about what you see, it is essential to take immediate action. If your little loved one does speak up and talk about the abuse, give them your undivided attention. Begin with believing what they say and validate their allegations through questioning and investigation.

California Independent Compensation Program Provides Financial Support to Victims

Last year, six Southern California dioceses launched an Independent Compensation Program to support their moral obligation to provide compensation to victims of clergy abuse and resolve their legal issues. The program involves the Diocese of San Bernardino, Diocese of San Diego, Diocese of San Bernardino, Diocese of Orange, and Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

While no amount of money can take away the pain and suffering endured by victims of priestly sex abuse, the compensation program provides funds for counseling and healing. Not every victim of child abuse is eligible to participate. However, most parishioners from every Roman Catholic diocese in Southern California at any local Church can apply. Bishops and the predatory priest’s religious order turned over management of the compensation program to independent authorities to determine who is eligible.

The Roman Catholic Diocese is taking steps to heal the congregation from predators in their midst, including Reverend Anthony Rodrigue, who sexually assaulted innocent souls from the 1960s through the 1980s. Father Rodrigue work in active ministry in San Bernardino and San Diego.

Bishop McElroy and Auxiliary Bishop Dolan are encouraging all victims of priestly sex abuse harmed by clergy working in the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, Diocese of San Bernardino, and any other California Roman Catholic diocese to come forward and register for compensation. The alleged victim is under no obligation, and no costs are involved. The process, handled through an independent group, will remain confidential.

Diocese of San Diego Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys Can Help

The Roman Catholic Church spent decades hiding the list of priests with credible evidence of sexually assaulting minors. Only recently has the public, congregation, parishioners, and local law enforcement become aware of how severe a sexual abuse crisis exists in the Church.

Our attorneys use the law to ensure you receive compensation through the legal action of filing a lawsuit. If you are a clergy abuse survivor harmed by a San Diego Diocese religious leader, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation. We will listen to your story, discuss the merits of your case, and provide numerous pathways to obtain financial compensation.

Recent changes in the state’s statute of limitations laws provide new opportunities for plaintiffs to file a claim against the Church, priest, and religious order no matter when the abuse occurred. We handle cases involving clergy abusers whose current status is in “active ministry,” retired, removed from the priesthood, on leave of absence, or deceased.

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