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Calif. Clergy Abuse Lawsuit Update: Nov. 2022

Timely Insights on Laws, Issues and New Developements
Matthews & Associates Law Firm has filed more than 120 California clergy abuse lawsuits, including a recent case for a 52-year old man who alleges that he was abused as a minor by a Catholic priest who worked in San Bernardino County.

The first defendant in the latest filing is a corporation conducting business in the State of California, with its principal place of business in San Bernardino, California.

The case was filed in San Diego Superior Court because this action involves childhood sexual assault committed by an employee, volunteer, representative or agent of a Roman Catholic entity or association within the geographic confines of San Diego.

Related: Window closing on Calif. Clergy Abuse Claims

The latest lawsuit complaint filed in San Diego Superior Court reads:

“(The case) involves childhood sexual assault committed by an employee, volunteer, representative or agent of a Roman Catholic entity or association who was assigned to work within the geographic confines of San Diego, Imperial, Riverside or San Bernardino Counties. As such, this case is related to the Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding entitled The San Diego Diocese Cases, Case No. JCCP 5105, and will ultimately be added on to that proceeding, which has been assigned to Judge Eddie Sturgeon of The San Diego Superior Court.  The two primary Diocese Defendants involved in The San Diego Diocese Cases, as well as Liaison Counsel for the Defendants have agreed to San Diego Superior Court as an appropriate filing venue for matters to be added on the JCCP 5105, subject to their right to request transfer for trial at a later date.”

The petition says the alleged acts of childhood sexual assault, harassment, abuse and/or molestation perpetrated upon the Plaintiff began to occur when he was under 18. They constitute childhood sexual assault within the definition of Code of Civil Procedure §340.1(d):

“These acts of childhood sexual assault, harassment, abuse and/or molestation resulted in the personal physical injury, as well as emotional, psychological and psychiatric injury and damage to the Plaintiff.”

The complaint further alleges that the sexual abuse, harassment and/or assaults committed by the perpetrator included, but was not limited to:

  • grooming
  • sexual talking
  • sexual touching
  • masturbation
  • oral sex
  • penetration.

The petition further alleges that, “Defendants knew or had reason to know, or were otherwise on notice, of misconduct that created a risk of childhood sexual assault by an employee, volunteer, representative, or agent.  Defendants also failed to take reasonable steps or to implement reasonable safeguards to avoid acts of childhood sexual assault.”

As a direct and proximate result of the wrongful conduct alleged herein, the petition says the plaintiff has suffered, and continues to suffer, physical injury, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life. He has also suffered and continues to suffer spiritually. He was prevented and will continue to be prevented from performing daily activities and obtaining the full enjoyment of life. He has also incurred, and will continue to incur, expenses for medical and psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling.

Causes of Action

  1. Negligence
  2. Negligent Supervision/Failure to Warn
  3. Negligent Hiring/Retention
  4. Negligent failure to warn, train, or educate plaintiff

Defendants, by and through their agents, servants, and employees, the petition reads, knew or should have known of the Perpetrator’s dangerous and exploitive propensities and/or that he was an unfit agent.  It was foreseeable that if Defendants did not adequately exercise or provide the duty of care owed to children in their care, (the) children entrusted to Defendants’ care would be vulnerable to sexual abuse by the Perpetrator.

The lawsuit complaint also includes a demand for a jury trial.

Window Closing on Calif. Clergy Abuse Filing Chances

Several new cases are being filed now as a deadline is fast approaching for those who were abused by clergy in California. Clergy abuse survivors in the golden state have less than two months remaining to file a claim. The California window to file a clergy abuse claim closes on Dec. 31, 2022. After that date, it may be virtually impossible to file a case.

Child Victim’s Act (AB218)

The Child Victim’s Act (AB218) expanded the filing limitations that previously applied to clergy abuse survivors. One of that Act’s measures is a three-year “look back” window which allowed plaintiffs to file civil suits for childhood sex abuse regardless of how long ago that abuse occurred.

California law previously allowed people to file a claim only up to age 26. AB218 raises that age to 40, which is the new cutoff age when the window closes at the end of next month.


  • California Law change helps Sex Abuse Survivors
  • Free Clergy Abuse Case Review
  • Thousands of California Sex Abuse Lawsuits expected
  • California Clergy Abuse Deadline looms
  • Pope and Cardinal clash in Church’s Sex Abuse Crisis
  • Abuse by Clergy Lawsuit
  • Catholic Priest sues Vatican as McCarrick Scandal grows

by Matthews & Associates

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