Priest Sex Abuse Numbers & Timeline

(Jan. 31, 2019)  The priest sex abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic Church for decades continues.  Despite numerous apologies from the Pope on down, and pledges to do better, the Catholic Church has consistently shown an inability to police itself.  We see in one child sex abuse story after another how church officials not only fail to prosecute or even dismiss abusers, but hide and coddle them instead.  Instead of being dismissed – at the least, or sent to jail, as they should be – many abusers are sent by their “superiors” to other parishes where they are set free to assault the children of other unwitting parishioners.

How can such devious actions by the church not result in clergy abuse lawsuits?  What other recourse is available to the trusting victims of predatory priests and their underhanded enablers?

Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

The shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report released this past summer (with its 1,000 victims, 300 credibly accused priests) has made more churchgoers than ever more conscious of their church’s failures to protect the children in their charge.  The sheer numbers related in that report have sent many people into a crisis of faith  – if not in their spirituality, at least in the church itself.  Many have, as a result, ceased to attend their church.  The sheer numbers for many are simply  too large to dismiss.  The clergy sex abuse numbers not only don’t lie; they are decidedly shy of the reality.  Every expert on the subject recognizes that the stigma of sharing child sex abuse stories leads most people to suffer quietly alone.

Law Changes Help Victims

But all that may be changing.  As the public discussion of the unspeakable broadens, more and more people are coming to terms with their prior abuse, including lawmakers who this week helped change law in New York to give the abused longer periods of time in which to file a claim.  The result is helping to remove some of the stigma attached to a person’s sharing his or her own story of sex abuse.

Priest Sex Abuse by the Numbers

  • Money paid out by the Catholic Church to sex abuse victims: $3 Billion
  • Number of priests credibly accused of abuse: 6,800
  • Survivors of Priest Sex Abuse: At least 19,000

The Catholic Church Compensates Victims

The Catholic Church has faced  priest sex abuse allegations for decades worldwide.  An analysis by, finds that the church has paid out more than $3 billion to victims.

The same organization has found that more than 6,800 U.S. Catholic priests have been credibly accused of sexual abuse in the U.S., and at least 19,000 people still alive have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a U.S. Catholic priest.

Most recently, in Houston, Texas this week, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and other Texas dioceses are expected to release lists of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children today.

KHOU in Houston presents a look back at the long-running crisis:


The Servants of the Paraclete opens in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, as a treatment center for priests accused of molesting children.


Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, a priest in the Diocese of Lafayette, La., is indicted on 34 counts of sex crimes against children.  According to 60 Minutes, he is the first priest in the U.S. to face a criminal trial for child sex abuse. He pleads guilty in 1986 and is sentenced to 20 years in prison.

June 1985

Rev. Thomas Doyle and Gauthe’s attorney, Ray Mouton, release a report, “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner.”  It warns bishops about predatory priests and outlines how sex abuse allegations should be handled. Doyle says church leaders dismissed the report.

July 1997

A Dallas jury awards a landmark $119 million judgment against the Catholic Church  to 11 clergy sex abuse survivors. The victims’ attorney says, “I hope this wakes up the Pope.”

June 2001

The Diocese of Tucson is the first religious order to release a list of accused priests.

January 2002

The Boston Globe runs a groundbreaking story of how the church allowed a known molester priest to transfer in and out of parishes rather than remove him.  (See the movie “Spotlight.”)

June 2002

After meeting in Dallas, Texas, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops establishes the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” commonly known as the Dallas Charter. It calls for zero tolerance for priests who sexually abuse children. It fails to address Catholic bishops who cover up cases or allow abusive priests to continue.


The Diocese of Fort Worth becomes Texas’s first to release a list of credibly accused priests.


In his book, “Sex, Priests and Secret Codes,” Rev. Tom Doyle traces the history of clergy sexual abuse of children to A.D. 98, the same century the church was founded.

March 2009

New Hampshire names 27 priests accused of abuse following the attorney general’s five-year audit of the Diocese of Manchester.

March 2011

The Associated Press reports the Catholic Church fails to monitor former priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children.

July 2014

Pope Francis meets with clergy sex abuse survivors and promises “zero tolerance” for priests who abuse children.

September 2015

The movie “Spotlight” is released. The award-winning film follows The Boston Globe’s investigative Spotlight team as it shows how the Catholic Church hides priest sex abuse scandals.

August 2018

In a two-year inquiry into clergy sex abuse, a Pennsylvania grand jury releases a report which concludes that 300 Catholic priests sexually abused 1,000 child victims over seven decades.

October 2018

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, overseer of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, calls for more church accountability and transparency.

DiNardo announces all Texas dioceses will release a list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors by the end of January 2019.

November 2018

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office searches the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Chancery and secret archives for documents containing information on sexual abuse by Rev. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez. He is charged with four counts of indecency with a child.

During its search, the DA’s office said it found other documents relating to sex abuse. Those documents, the DA’s office said, were turned over to the Texas Rangers for investigation.

December 2018

Pope Francis calls for all priests who have raped and molested children to turn themselves in. He  promises the church will never again cover up clergy sex abuse.

December 2018

The Illinois Attorney General releases preliminary findings in an investigation that reveals the state’s six dioceses failed to disclose sex abuse allegations against 500 additional priests and clergy members.

January 2019

U.S. Catholic bishops gather in Illinois for a weeklong retreat of prayer and reflection related to the clergy sex abuse crisis.

January 2019

KHOU 11 Investigates releases “Unforgivable,” a 30-minute documentary detailing the clergy sex abuse crisis and its impacts on survivors, their families and the work by an attorney and a priest to make a difference.

Jan. 31, 2019

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and other Texas dioceses are expected to release lists today of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

February 2019

The world’s Catholic bishops are scheduled to gather in the Vatican with the pope to discuss preventing priest sex abuse.

And so the problem and the discussion continues.  Clearly, some progress has been made for victims, but there is a long way to go, as so many continue to suffer in silence.



Victims of Child Sex Abuse receive Reprieve

(January 28, 2019)  Victims of child sex abuse received a legal reprieve from New York lawmakers this week.  On Monday the state government in Albany voted to allow people a longer grace period in which to file their claims of being sexually abused as children.  The Child Victims Act gives victims of child sex abuse until age 55 to bring a civil lawsuit, up from the current age of 23.  The bill also offers other legal changes that help extend the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse.*

The new law comes after more than 15 years of political in-fighting, with most of the opposition coming from Republican senators.  Gov. Cuomo vowed to sign the bill, saying, “It’s taken us a number of years to get here, but we got here.”

Related:  Abuse by Clergy Lawsuit

The bill was driven, in part, by four state representatives who recently revealed their own childhood experiences of having been sexually abused by trusted elders.  The New York Daily News reported that during the debate on the House floor, “[F]our female lawmakers – new Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), and Assembly members Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan), Catalina Cruz (D-Queens), and Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Brooklyn) – recounted their own experiences of being sexually abused as kids.”

The Least We can do

Ms. Biaggi said she had remained silent for 25 years, which no doubt helped her to understand why it would take a person that long or longer to come to terms with abuse and share it with the world.  She said her abuse was, “something that I thought I would take to my grave.”

She also questioned: “Why on earth would anybody be opposed to this bill unless they have something to hide.  This is truly the least that we can do.”

Ms. Niou shook and cried as she recounted her abuse at age 13 by a teacher.

“I hope that people realize that this is not an attack on any institution, not attack on anybody else,” Ms. Nious said. “This is to protect victims. It’s to protect the children and it’s to help people feel a little whole again.”

Ms. Cruz said she was abused by a family member.  She thanked bill sponsors past and present for “never giving up in getting us justice.”

Ms. Bichotte recounted a story about being abused at age 10 by a pastor.  She said, “This bill is a must because it speaks to all the victims who were sexually abused as a child.  “The passing of this bill means a victory to them, a victory for me.”

The Child Victims Act Politics

Senate Republicans and some Assembly Democrats had previously blocked the bill.  It passed the Assembly for the third straight year this year, but with Democrats now in charge of the Senate, it cleared the upper house this time around.

The bill’s original sponsor was former Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, a Queens Democrat. Ms. Markey took grief for years from the Church and even from some fellow Assembly Democrats for her aggressive advocacy of the legislation.  The Catholic Church opposed it for years, as did Orthodox Jewish groups, the Boy Scouts of America, and insurance companies.

Democrats push Child Victims Act Through

Democrats decidedly pushed The Child Victims Act through.  After winning Senate control in the November elections, they prioritized passing it.

New Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said at a rally with victims and victims’ advocates before the vote:  “We say to the victims that we hear you, we are responding in the most responsible way, and we are really, really sorry it took so long. We really are.”

New York Daily News Crusade

Governor Cuomo and advocates praised the New York Daily News for making the bill a crusade the past three years.

“The twelve-year battle for the Child Victims Act has been arduous and sometimes provoked despair and disillusionment in the hearts of survivors and advocates,” said Stephen Jimenez, who was sexually abused at his Catholic school in Brooklyn. “But, at the end of the day, the glaring light of truth and justice has triumphed.”

Mr. Jimenez, a Catholic and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, said the bill’s passage “means an end to shame, silence and invisibility in the face of institutional cover-up.”

What The Child Victims Act Means

*Sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), The Child Victims Act  gives victims of child sex abuse until their 55th birthday to bring a civil lawsuit, up from the current age of 23. The new bill also gives survivors until their 28th birthday to seek criminal felony charges and their 25th birthday to seek a misdemeanor case.

The bill also creates a one-year window to revive old cases time-barred under current law.  It will also treat public and private institutions the same when it comes to child sex abuse. Under current law, someone abused in a public institution like a school can only sue if they file a notice of claim within 90 days of the attack.

130-3 Vote for New Bill

The bill flew through the Senate with minimal debate and passed by a unanimous vote.  It  passed the Assembly 130-3.

The state Catholic Conference dropped its years-long long opposition to the bill for reasons given by its spokesman Dennis Poust:  “We did not oppose the final version of the Child Victims Act precisely because it treats all survivors equally, including those abused in public schools. We hope this legislation gives all survivors the opportunity to be heard and compensated, wherever they were abused.”

Statute of Limitations Fights Continue

The Daily News reported that, “Some survivors, including Gary Greenberg, who created a political action committee to help flip the Senate so the Child Victims Act could pass, praised the new law even while saying they will push for future changes, including completely eliminating the criminal and civil statute of limitations on all child sex abuse cases.”

That fight will be ongoing in New York state, as it is ongoing in Pennsylvania and other states.  It was a grand jury report from Pennsylvania last summer which first focused the nation’s attention on the undeniable problem of an ongoing epidemic of child sex abuse by Catholic priests and other trusted clergy.


Abuse by Clergy Lawsuit

•  Clergy Abuse Attorneys

•  Clergy Abuse Claims Bankrupt Catholic Dioceses

•   Victims of Child Sex Abuse receive Reprieve

•  Gay Lavender Mafia in the Catholic Church?


Monsanto Propaganda misleads World

(Jan. 21, 2019)  Just as the CIA has been outed as running propaganda and disinformation campaigns against not only foreign powers but also against United States citizens (see Operation Mockingbird, which clearly continues today), Monsanto and other ag chemical industry giants have been shown to be running propaganda and disinformation campaigns about pesticides and GMOs.  The long-term goal (largely accomplished, given the abysmal health of most Americans) has been to not only confuse people about the actual dangers of pesticide-laced food,  but to also belittle and “neutralize” concerned citizens and scientists interested in the benefits of organic food and clean water untainted with genetically modified perversions and pesticides.

Related:  The Sinister Monsanto Group

Monsanto Covers its Tracks

Disgraced former US President Richard Nixon said it’s not the crime that gets you in trouble; it’s the coverup.  Monsanto executives must not have been paying attention.  Because while the company has paid millions of dollars for research studies purporting to prove the safety of products like Roundup, that money trail alone does not prove Roundup causes cancer of the type which a California jury awarded a California man $289 million in a verdict last summer.  What does appear to have influenced the jury, however, is the extraordinary lengths which it was shown during the trial that Monsanto has gone to in order to “disappear,” stifle, or coverup any and all evidence which might prove that Roundup causes cancer.  (See The Monsanto Papers.)

Rat Study Threatens Monsanto

When a famous ratsFrench scientist named Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini performed a rat study which showed the rats developed hideous tumors following a diet of GMO maize (corn), his peer reviewed paper on the subject was published in a reputable science journal.  The study threatened the whole Monsanto GMO paradigm, and strongly suggested that further safety tests were warranted.  So Monsanto worked behind the scenes to have the offending publication hire a new editor, an editor who then pulled the damaging study.  Monsanto’s heavy-handed bullying in the case, however, caused an uproar in the scientific community, and led to the paper’s being re-reviewed by peers, and then re-published, in another journal which Monsanto hadn’t yet gripped in its long tentacles.

Monsanto EPA Ties Outed

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering a re-review of glyphosate safety, Monsanto was concerned.  So it worked behind the scenes with an actual EPA scientist, Jess Rowland, to quash the review.  Mr. Rowland’s fealty to Monsanto and the cozy relationship between regulator and regulated was revealed by emails between the two.  It was not the the kind of thing to give citizens confidence in their regulators, and it was not the kind of thing to give Monsanto credibility when its lawyers in the first Roundup cancer trial last summer claimed hundreds of studies proved glyphosate was safe.

Covert Industry Funding to Fake Objectivity

Covert industry funding of ostensibly “independent” scientists is a favorite Monsanto and Ag  Industry ploy to give the appearance of objectivity.  The problem for Monsanto and the industry is that time and again financial conflicts of interest have shown the world the lie.

Writing for U.S. Right to Know, Stacy Malkin has repeatedly shown how this ruse works.  One group Monsanto has attempted to use to show the purported safety of Roundup is called  “The Academics Review.”  This “Review” turns out to be nothing more than the innocuous sounding title of an industry-sponsored group pretending not to be an industry-sponsored group.

“Two Independent Professors” & The Usual Suspects

The Academics Review website claims “two independent professors,” started it:  Bruce Chassy, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and David Tribe, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Australia.  Ms. Malkin noted that in May 2018, the website claimed, “Academics Review only accepts unrestricted donations from non-corporate sources to support our work.”

Meanwhile, tax records show a trade association to be the primary funder of Academics Review. The Council for Biotechnology Information was funded by the largest agrichemical companies: BASF, Bayer, DowDuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta.

Ms Malkan writes:  “According to CBI tax records, the industry-funded group gave Academics Review a total of $650,000 in 2014 and 2015-2016. Tax records for report expenses of $791,064 from 2013-2016 (see 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016).  The money was spent on organizing conferences and promoting GMOs and pesticides, according to the tax records.”

Monsanto ghostwrites for Stanford Academic

Other ostensibly “objective” researchers include disgraced Stanford academic Henry I. Miller, whose propaganda attacking organic food was published by Fortune magazine, then pulled by Forbes from publication after public uproar proved Mr. Miller had simply signed his name to propaganda penned by Monsanto executives.

Reuters joins Monsanto Propaganda Effort

It was just revealed last week that Reuters news reporter Kate Kelland had apparently picked up Monsanto’s Operation Mockingbird mantel.  On January 16, 2019, documents filed in federal court threaten to expose Ms. Kelland for acting as a Monsanto’s mouthpiece.  She stands accused of driving a false narrative about cancer scientist Aaron Blair and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen in 2015.  The importance of that IARC declaration cannot be overstated, which is why it has been so important for Monsanto to try to neutralize the agency ever since and destroy its credibility.  That IARC some 9,300 cases.

Ms. Kelland wrote a controversial story in 2017 which she attributed to “court documents,” which now appear to have been fed to her by a Monsanto executive.  That Monsanto “newsmaker” also surreptitiously provided several key points Monsanto wanted Reuters to print. The documents Ms. Kelland cited were not filed in court, and were not publicly available at the time she wrote her IARC hit piece.   But presenting her story as “based on court documents” allowed her to avoid disclosing Monsanto’s crucial role in the story.

The Reuter’s story portrayed cancer scientist Aaron Blair as hiding “important information” that found no links between glyphosate and cancer  from IARC.  Ms. Kelland claimed that Blair, “said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis.”  However, a review of the full deposition shows that Mr. Blair did not say that.

Ms. Kelland provided no link to the documents she cited, which made it impossible for readers to see for themselves how far she veered from accuracy.

Operation Mockingbird in Full Swing

The CIA with Cord Myer in control of Operation Mockingbird couldn’t have done it any better. Ms. Kelland’s hit piece featuring Monsanto in the victim role was picked up by Monsanto-friendly media outlets around the world.  It was promoted by Monsanto and its chemical industry allies. Google advertisements were even purchased that promoted the story.

And now, reports Carey Gilliam for US Right to Know, new information revealed in court filings indicates just how heavy Monsanto’s hand was in pushing the false narrative.

Monsanto’s Fears change Trial Rules

So concerned is Monsanto with the evidence of its endless coverup and ongoing covert operations to influence public opinion and government regulators that it motioned this month to keep jurors from hearing ANY evidence of its coverups and its behind-the-scenes dealings unless and until the jury has first determined the question of causation.   The jury must first determine that Roundup caused the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma without hearing any evidence of Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes efforts to confuse the issues and neutralize evidence from those who have found Monsanto pesticides and GMOs lead to cancerous outcomes.

The problem – or at least the principal challenge – with this new two-part trial approach for the plaintiff’s side is that Monsanto has spent so much money to produce so many studies which attempt to prove the safety of glyphosate, that a jury could become lost, even overwhelmed, with the sheer volume of the paperwork produced by the Monsanto machine.  And will the plaintiff’s side be able to continue uncovering the latest Monsanto propaganda ploys, as they just uncovered the ruse orchestrated by Reuter’s “journalist” Kate Kelland?

Stay tuned. . .



Illinois Catholic Church withheld 500 Accused Priests’ Names

(Dec. 27, 2018)  The Chicago Tribune reported last week that the Illinois Catholic Church withheld the names of at least 500 priests accused of sexual abuse of minors.  The Illinois attorney general accused the church of failing victims by neglecting to investigate their allegations.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan concluded in a preliminary report that Illinois’ Catholic dioceses are incapable of investigating themselves.  She said that church officials, “will not resolve the clergy sexual abuse crisis on their own.”

Ms. Madigan reported that 690 priests were accused of abuse, but the dioceses made only 185 names public of those who have been found credibly accused of abuse.

“The number of allegations above what was already public is shocking,” Ms. Madigan said.

The report is Illinois’ state prosecutors’ latest attempt to hold the Catholic Church accountable by examining the church’s own records. At least 16 state attorneys general have initiated various investigations since August 2018, which have included examination of the church’s own records.

The movement to uncover the truth about clergy sexual abuse of minors began in Illinois and other states across the country following a shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report which came out in the summer of 2018.  That was when the Pennsylvania grand jury accused more than 300 priests of sexual abuse over a 50-year span. And just as shocking, if not moreso, they also accused Catholic bishops of covering up the scandal, which some clergy abuse lawyers, as well as priests, have suggested goes all the way to the Vatican, and stems from a culture of corruption, even a “lavender mafia,” a secret gay culture within the church that at least one priest says runs the church.

Church covered for Abusers

Unlike Pennsylvania’s 1,356 pages of a grand jury report, Illinois’ nine-page report does not name accused priests or call out particular bishops for negligence.  It does, however, question the enormous gap between the number of accusations made by victims who dared to contact the church, and the number of accusations the church deemed credible.

Ms. Madigan’s office report noted that three-fourths of the allegations against clergy were either not investigated or were investigated but not substantiated by the dioceses papers turned over to the attorney general’s office.

A pattern emerged from the files: the dioceses often failed to find a claim credible if only one victim reported.  The dioceses also failed to investigate at all if the accused priest had died or been reassigned, or if he belonged to a religious order  – such as the Franciscans, Marists, or Jesuits. The report said the dioceses often discredited survivors’ claims by “focusing on the survivors’ personal lives,” which is a pattern that was also found in the Boston clergy abuse scandal that was uncovered by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight and made into a 2016 movie.

Church Cooperation

The Illinois report said that representatives of all six dioceses cooperated with the investigation by meeting with the attorney general and her staff.  The six voluntarily produced thousands of documents and gave access to hundreds of clergy files related to abuse allegations.

Once the attorney general’s office began investigating, the Illinois dioceses disclosed the names of 45 more clergymen deemed by the church to be credibly accused of sexual abuse.  Most were cases about which the dioceses had known for years.

Cardinal Apology

“I want to express again the profound regret of the whole church for our failures to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago’s.  “It is the courage of victim-survivors that has shed purifying light on this dark chapter in church history.”

Roman Catholics have long dominated some Chicago neighborhoods and held a place in the political fabric of the city.  Thirty-three percent of Chicago-area residents are Catholic, ranking it among the top five most Catholic of American cities.

A spokeswoman in the Chicago area’s branch of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), Kate Bochte, said the idea that nearly three-quarters of the allegations were not deemed credible was a “huge indicator that the church is incapable” of investigating itself.

“[T]hink about all those people who came in – 75 percent of the people – what happened to them?” asked Ms. Bochte. “They were basically turned away after they explained the most difficult thing that had ever happened to them.”

300 More Victims?

Ms. Madigan said that survivors of abuse were owed a sense that their concerns were being pursued.  Since her office announced a hotline for survivors to report such abuse several months ago, 300 people have called.

The attorney general, who will leave office in a couple of weeks, also said she wanted to release her findings before the American bishops gather at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago in early January 2019.  About 300 bishops are expected at a weeklong spiritual retreat ordered by Pope Francis to pray and reflect on the church’s role in the sexual abuse of children.



Third accuser: archdiocese knew of Houston-area sex abuse

(Dec. 21, 2018)  A third person has come forward this week to say that an archdiocese knew of sexual abuse allegations against a Houston-area priest, yet failed to take corrective action.

This third person has accused Manuel La Rosa-Lopez of molesting him in the early 1990s when the elder was a seminarian and he an altar boy at Houston’s St. Thomas More Catholic Church.

The man wished not to be identified.  He said that Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, then a seminarian, molested him in the early 1990s when he was just twelve years old.

A Houston Chronicle headline about the accused priest caught the 37-year-old man’s attention. He read the news on the web of a Richmond priest being arrested for decades-old claims that he had molested two children at a Conroe church.

The Chronicle reported that the third accuser hardly recognized the gray-haired man in the recent Montgomery County booking photo.  When he had last seen the accused priest, he was an altar boy at a Peruvian seminary, St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Houston.  That news report from September unearthed years of guilt and shame that he had long tried to bury.

“My heart just broke”

“My heart just broke,” the man told the Houston Chronicle.  He contacted the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office a few days later, becoming the third accuser to step forward with allegations of molestation against Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez.  The clergyman became the center of a growing investigation this past summer of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston when he was accused by two others of sexual molestation.

Related:  Accused priests ID’d in Shalom Center Records

The latest allegations show that the leaders of the country’s fifth-largest diocese were aware of claims against La Rosa-Lopez as early as 1992, yet allowed him to be ordained into the ministry and move from church to church.

The priest’s lawyer did not respond on Dec. 20 to the Chronicle’s request for comment, though the church made a short statement yesterday:

“We cannot comment on this matter, which is still under investigation, except to say we are cooperating fully with law enforcement,” said church spokeswoman Jo Ann Zuniga.

The Chronicle reported that the father of four children sat in a Houston lawyer’s office last week and haltingly described the alleged abuse he suffered over a period of weeks at St. Thomas More.  For more than 25 years, he had kept the secret even from his wife.

“It completely engulfs your life,” the man said, breaking down in the office. “I really try to do the best I can to keep working, to keep being strong for my children.”

Accusers step forward

Mr. La Rosa-Lopez was arrested Sept. 11, 2018 on four charges of indecency with a child.  The charges stemmed from the man’s alleged abuse of two teens from 1998-2000 at Conroe’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Those charges triggered three search warrants executed at the Shalom Center treatment facility in Splendora in eastern Montgomery County, along with two churches between Fort Bend County and Conroe.

Mr. La Rosa-Lopez was held in jail for two nights before being released on a $375,000 bond. He returned to court in October, but that hearing was postponed until January 2019 after Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office investigators requested more time to examine their seized records.

To the Vatican, if necessary

The investigation of Mr. La Rosa-Lopez continues.  Montgomery County DA Brett Ligon has vowed, if necessary, to go “all the way to the Vatican.”

The investigation escalated in Nov. 2018 with a surprise search of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s headquarters in downtown Houston. The exhaustive search warrant made scant mention of the third accuser (only by his initials), and the accused priest has not been charged in this third claim.

20 Priests Treated for Sex Abuse Problems

More than 20 priests were treated for sex abuse problems, according to the documents seized from the Shalom Center.  Police also seized several computers and files from the archdiocese offices of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.  He was charged with overseeing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  His stewardship in that role is now being severely tested.

More than 70 dioceses nationwide have released lists of accused priests.  On Dec. 19 this week, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office announced the discovery of 500 more clergy members accused of sexual abuse, in addition to the 185 disclosed by the six dioceses. In Texas, each of the 15 Catholic Dioceses and the archdiocese announced in October 2018 that they would compile and release their own lists.

The Catholic church has announced that it is sticking to its plan to release the names of priests “credibly accused” of child sex abuse by Jan. 31, 2019, though the latest search warrant has left a stash of priest personnel records and boxes of “sex allegation files” in the hands of law enforcement. Some of the files were taken from a so-called vault at the archdiocese’s San Jacinto Street office.

Jonah Dycus, a spokesperson for the archdiocese, said, “We do not wish to compromise the integrity of this important work by discussing it before we have the full facts assembled.”

Cardinal DiNardo last month identified the Kinsale Management Consultants as the auditor tasked with tabulating the list. The firm is led by former FBI Executive Assistant Director Kathleen McChesney.

The church has pledged to give company “unfettered access” to archdiocese records, said Mr. Dycus.



Wildfires Lawsuit Filed in Butte County

(Dec. 5, 2018)  Lawyers filed suit Nov. 30, 2018 in Butte County Superior Court of California in Chico.  The plaintiff is a woman who lost her home in the California wildfires which began Nov. 8, 2018  in Paradise, Calif.  The suit charges California Pacific Gas & Electric with inverse condemnation, negligence,  premises liability, trespass, public nuisance, private nuisance, and several other causes of action.  The petition names only PG&E, but leaves the woman’s lawyers room to add as many as 50 more defendants “when they are ascertained.”   The suit was filed by Peter de la Cerda of Matthews & Associates Law Firm.



The petition states:

“The Camp Fire devastated the towns of Paradise, Magalia, Pulga, Mineral Slide, Irish Towh, Centerville, Parkhill, and Concow, and terrorized several neighboring towns including Oroville, Gridley and Chico.  To date, the Camp Fire has killed 81 people, making it the deadliest fire in California history.  (The fire) burned 117,000 acres and destroyed 18,000 structures, more than the next seven worst fires combined.  More than 150,000 residents have been displaced from their homes as a result of the Camp Fire and more than 200 people are unaccounted for.  Particularly hard hit was the town of Paradise where 80 to 90 percent of the homes were destroyed.”

The Camp Fire was the single largest California wildfire in the state’s history.  The petition claims that, “PG&E knew or should have known that a breach of those standards and duties constituted negligence and would expose members of the general public to risk of death, injury, and damage to their property.”

PG&E History of Safety Failures

The lawsuit further states that “PG&E has developed a regular pattern of placing its own profits before the safety of the California residents it serves and has demonstrated no intention of changing this pattern.”

The suit lists several other episodes in which PG&E was alleged to be at the center of “safety lapses that caused injury and death to California residents, and destroyed or damaged property.”  That list includes:

  • A 1992 Santa Rosa Gas Explosion that killed two people and injured three.
  • A 1994 Trauner Fire that burned down an historic schoolhouse and 12 homes. A Nevada County jury found PG&E guilty of 739 counts of criminal negligence.  PG&E was forced to pay $24 million in penalties.  A 1998 CPUC report showed PG&E had diverted $77.6 million from its tree-trimming budget to other uses from 1987 to 1994. In that same time, PG&E underspent its authorized maintenance budgets by $495 million, using that money instead to boost corporate profits.
  • A 1999 Pendola Fire that occurred when PG&E failed to remove a rotten pine. It burned for 11 days and scorched 11,725 acres, mostly in Tahoe and Plumas national forests. PG&E paid a $14.75 million settlement to the U.S. Forest Service in 2009, and also reached a $22.7 million settlement with CPUC.
  • A 2003 Mission Substation Electrical Fire that burned for two hours and 1/3 of San Francisco lost power. A CPUC report concluded, “PG&E did not implement its own recommendations from its own investigation of the 1996 fire.”
  • A 2004 Sims fire that burned more than 4,000 acres of forest land in Six Rivers and Trinity National Forests. A federal suit alleged PG&E failed to remove a decaying tree, which fell on a transmission line and began the blaze.
  • A 2010 San Bruno Gas Explosion that killed eight people and injured 58 as it destroyed an entire neighborhood. NTSB issued a report that blamed PG&E’s poor pipeline management.  In April 2015, CPUC slapped PG&E with a $1.6 billion fine for causing the explosion and diverting maintenance funds into stockholder dividends and executive bonuses.  In Jan. 2017, a federal jury found PG&E guilty of six felony charges. The judge ordered PG&E to pay $3 million in fines for causing the explosion, and ordered the company to submit to court supervision of its natural gas operations.
  • A 2015 San Francisco Electrical Explosion that injured two people, one critically.
  • A 2015 Butte Fire in Calaveras County that ignited when a weak grey pine tree that PG&E should have removed struck a 12,0000-volt PG&E-owned power line. The fire burned for 22 days; killed two people; destroyed more than 70,000 acres; destroyed and/or damaged 475 residences, 343 outbuildings, and 45 other structures.   Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes.
  • The 2017 North Bay Fires that began when PG&E-owned equipment contacted vegetation due to “PG&E’s disregard of mandated safety practices and the foreseeable risks associated with its infrastructure.” These fires killed at least 43 people, injured many others, burned more than 245,000 acres, destroyed more than 14, 700 homes.

2013 Liberty Report

The petition also details the role of a consulting group hired to investigate PG&E’s safety practices in order to improve on them.   The Liberty Consulting Group sent a report to the Safety and Enforcement Division of the CPUC in May 2013.  Liberty concluded that “several aspects of the PG&E distribution system present significant safety issues.”  Liberty found that, “addressing aging infrastructure and adding SCADA to the [PG&E] system comprise the major focuses of safety initiatives for the distribution system.”

After the Liberty Report, PG&E began to state publicly that it was treating wildfires as an enterprise-level risk.

“However,” reads the petition, “the methodology used by PG&E to evaluate the severity of that risk was, and is, unscientific and not based on valid statistical methodology.  Instead, PG&E’s method is to engage in a group discussion where an agreement is reached on a specific risk level based on personal opinion, anecdotal evidence, and factual misconceptions.  This process has led to PG&E’s failure to properly evaluate the frequency and severity of the risk posed by wildfires.”

The petition also notes that a 2014 audit of PG&E’s North Valley Division revealed that between 2009 and 204 there were more than 3,400 PG&E repair and maintenance requests in the area of the Camp Fire that were completed past the date of the scheduled action.

Further, 44 fires in Butte County were caused by electrical equipment from 2006-2016. In 2015, electrical power problems sparked the burning of 149,241 acres across California, more than twice the number from any other cause.

A 2017 CPUC report found “Poorly maintained poles and attachments have caused substantial property damage and repeated loss of life in this State.”

The petition further charges that PG&E instituted a “Run to Failure” approach to maintenance that included its purchasing insurance coverage to cover punitive damages in amounts that exceed hundreds of millions of dollars.

“PG&E purchased insurance policies that cover punitive damages for the purpose of providing corporate security at the cost of public safety,” the law suit alleges. “This contributed to a culture of reckless disregard for the safety of the residents of Northern and Central California and contributed to the cause of the Camp Fire.”

Do PG&E Profits trump Safety Issues?

The lawsuit also alleges that “PG&E’s corporate culture is the root cause of the Camp Fire. (Rather) than spend the money it obtains from customers for infrastructure maintenance and safety, PG&E funnels this funding to boost its own corporate profits and compensation.”

In one of the most incendiary allegations of the petition, the suit claims, “PG&E has implemented multiple programs that provide monetary incentives to its employees, agents and/or contractors to not protect public safety.  Prior to the Butte Fire, PG&E chose to provide a monetary incentive to its contractors to cut fewer trees, even though PG&E was required to have an inspection program in place that removed dangerous trees and reduced the risk of wildfires.”

PG&E Response

PG&E officials have noted publicly that the cause of the fires is still being investigated.  No definitive conclusions have yet been drawn.

California Wildfires Lawsuit Filed in Butte County

The case is 18CV03874,  Deborah Glass vs. PG&E Corporation, et al.  It is filed in Butte County Superior Court of California.



Gluten Intolerance Glyphosate Intolerance

Study blames Roundup for gluten intolerance and celiac disease epidemic

Roundup and Celiac Disease

“Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup®, is the most important causal factor in this epidemic,” concluded the authors of a research paper which examined nearly 300 studies.

The researchers wrote in their meta-analysis that “Celiac disease and gluten intolerance present a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe, where an estimated 5% of the population now suffers from it.”

The Celiac Disease Foundation says Celiac disease is believed to affect as many as 3.2 million Americans, an estimated 2.5 million of whom remain undiagnosed.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine and inhibits absorption of nutrients.  Celiac disease tends to run in families, but it does not follow a specific inheritance pattern.  It is not always inherited (as most diseases are not inherited, but environmental, including cancer); certain genes are, however, more likely to cause an autoimmune reaction to gluten.

The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center claims that a person must have two genes found on the HLA-class II complex, called DQ2 and DQ8 to have celiac disease.  Gluten sensitivity, by contrast, can typically occur in people without a family history of the disorder.

A Shocking Shift in Thinking

This study implies that everything we think we know about Celiac disease and gluten intolerance is wrong.  That is a shocking conclusion, so why haven’t we heard more about it?

Published in the journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology in 2013, it was completely ignored by all major mediaMother Earth News and The Healthy Home Economist covered it, but since those aren’t publications that get national attention, the story has remained quiet, even blacked out by mainstream media.  All that may be changing.  Internet magazines, news blogs, videos, and movies across the digital spectrum are increasingly making it more difficult for Monsanto’s mainstream media minions (see Monsanto’s paid “journalist”) and academic shills to keep the lid on the burning Monsanto Roundup story.

Related:  Monsanto attacks Science

Spotlight catches Monsanto

Monsanto’s glyphosate (from Roundup and other pesticide poison products) is at last getting the attention it deserves.  Monsanto was hit with a  $279 million cancer lawsuit verdict this past summer.  California listed glyphosate – the main listed active ingredient in Roundup — as a probable human carcinogen after the World Health Organization declared it was back in 2015.

Gluten Intolerance Glyphosate Intolerance

The paradigm-shifting 2013 study was authored by Anthony Samsel, an independent scientist who has served as a consultant to the EPA on arsenic pollution and to the U.S. Coast Guard on chemical hazard response, and Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at MIT.

So-called Gluten Intolerance

The scientists said that symptoms of so-called “gluten intolerance” and celiac disease are shockingly similar to the symptoms in lab animals exposed to glyphosate.  They reference a recent study that shows how glyphosate affects fish’ digestive systems. Glyphosate was shown to decrease digestive enzymes and bacteria, disrupt mucosal folds, destroy microvilli structure in the intestinal wall, increase mucin secretion.

The scientists wrote: “These features are highly reminiscent of celiac disease.”

Celiac Disease Parallels Glyphosate Use

Furthermore, the number of people diagnosed with gluten intolerance and celiac disease has risen in proportion to increased glyphosate use in agriculture, especially with the recent practice of  drenching grains in the herbicide right before harvest.  That troubling practice began  in the 1980s.  It became routine in the 1990s.  Here’s a look at the glyphosate Celiac disease parallels:

Some say the Celiac disease surge is due to better diagnostic tools (which occurred around 2000), a recent study suggests that’s not a solid retort.

Four-Fold Increase in Celiac Disease

In 2009, researchers looked for gluten antibodies in frozen immune serum obtained between 1948 and 1954 for gluten antibodies.  They compared those with samples taken from people today. They found a 4-fold increase in the incidence of celiac disease in the younger people.

Further Evidence of Celiac Glyphosate Link

The researchers also shared these points:

•  “Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria.”

•  “Celiac disease is associated with the impairment of cytochrome P450 enzymes. Glyphosate is known to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes.”

•   “Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate’s strong ability to chelate these elements.”

•   “Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and selenomethionine associated with celiac disease match glyphosate’s known depletion of these amino acids.”

•   “Celiac disease patients also have a known increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which has also been implicated in glyphosate exposure.”

•   “The incidence of non-Hodgkins lymphoma has increased rapidly in most Western countries over the last few decades. Statistics from the American Cancer Society show an 80% increase since the early 1970’s, when glyphosate was first introduced on the market.”

•   “Reproductive issues associated with celiac disease, such as infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects, can also be explained by glyphosate.”

The scientists also say that glyphosate residues in grain, sugar and other crops are increasing recently likely due to the growing practice of crop desiccation just prior to harvest.  This  secretive, illegal poisoning practice has become routine among conventional farmers since the 1990s.

This arcane practice increases yields by killing the crops, which causes them to release their seeds in their death throes as they struggle to survive the poison onslaught.

Does Roundup Desiccation (Desecration?) drive Celiac Disease?

Farmers use Roundup to “desiccate” most conventional (non organic) crops grown in the U.S. This is a dirty little secret in U.S. farming as well as in the UK and other places where “efficiency” and corporate farming lord it over the health concerns of sentient beings.

Since the 1980s, farmers around the world have been using Roundup and other pesticides to dessicate their fields before harvest.   So, sadly, even if one is buying non-GMO corn, wheat, soy, or other common crop staples, one is likely ingesting Roundup with that food.   Farmers dessicate before harvest to dry up the crop, to dry it out to kill it all at once for “better” harvests – better for “production” and “profits,” but decidedly not better for the animals  and people who eat those crops, or breathe in the pesticides.  (EPA also classifies herbicides as pesticides)

Along with wheat and oats, farmers use glyphosate to desiccate a wide range of other crops including lentils, peas, non-GMO soybeans, corn, flax, rye, triticale, buckwheat, millet, canola, sugar beets, and potatoes. Even sunflowers may be treated pre-harvest with glyphosate, according to the National Sunflower Association.  See the desiccation/desecration story here.




Camp Fire Lawsuit Filed

(Nov. 21, 2018)  Paradise, Calif. residents filed suit Nov. 13, 2018 against California Pacific Gas & Electric in San Francisco Superior Court.  Their lawsuit alleges that PG&E’s negligence and faulty equipment generated the deadly Camp Fire.  The tragedy has so far burned more than 130,000 acres in Butte County, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed dozens of people.

The suit, titled “Quammen Et Al vs. PGE,” lists 25 plaintiffs.  They are described as “an owner and/or occupants of real property damaged by the Camp Fire.”

Suit claims PG&E Line Failed

The lawsuit petition attacks PG&E’s safety record.  It claims, “[T]he Camp Fire started when a high-voltage transmission line failed, igniting vegetation.”  The lawsuit is attempting to saddle PG&E with legal liability for the most destructive fire in California history.

Camp Fire’s Cause still undetermined

Despite the suit’s allegations, the cause of the Camp Fire has not yet been determined. California Fire did, however, determine that PG&E equipment did spark similarly destructive California wildfires in 2017.

KQED reported that PG&E recorded “an incident early Thursday, Nov. 8, just before the fire began.  The incident involved a major electrical transmission line at a remote site in Butte County.  That incident report came just minutes before the reported start of the Camp Fire.

In addition to that oddly-timed report, just hours before the fire spread, PG&E announced via a November 8 press release that it had decided to cancel a previously proposed service suspension to some Northern California households as an anti-fire measure.  The timing could hardly have been more ironic, or more odd, or perhaps coincidental if PG&E were to turn out to have no responsibility or liability in the latest tragic California fires.

PG&E Statement

The company’s statement just prior to the start of the fires read:

“Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has determined that it will not proceed with plans today for a Public Safety Power Shutoff in portions of eight Northern California counties, as weather conditions did not warrant this safety measure.”

On Tuesday, PG&E began notifying approximately 70,000 customers in portions of Northern California of the potential that the company would turn off power for safety given forecasts of extreme fire danger conditions. PG&E will now notify customers […] that the potential Public Safety Power Shutoff has been canceled.

That statement and the nearly unbelievable timing of it do not look good for PG&E, in terms of the company’s potential liability.  However, both people and corporations in the U.S. are, by law,  presumed innocent of any wrongdoing until proven guilty.

Nevertheless, California fire investigators as well lawyers who have filed the first lawsuits in these fires have yet to prove exactly what caused the fires.

Cause of Fires Undetermined

PG&E spokesperson Mayra Tostado told Curbed SF: “It’s important to remember that the cause has yet to be determined.  (We) are aware of lawsuits regarding the Camp Fire.”  Ms. Tostado wished to emphasize PG&E’s efforts to restore service rather than comment on the complaint.

The California plaintiffs who filed suit over the fires allege that PG&E has a damning record of maintenance oversights that regularly creates dangerous conditions for the company’s customers.  Their petition includes some very emotional language.  It reads, in part:

“PG&E has a duty to manage, maintain, repair, and/or replace its aging infrastructure to protect public safety. These objectives could and should have been accomplished in a number of ways. […] PG&E knew or should have known that a breach of those standards and duties constituted negligence and would expose members of the general public to risk of death, injury, and damage to their property. PG&E’s safety record is an abomination.”

PG&E Lawsuit filed over Camp Fire

This latest PG&E lawsuit petition cites at least 18 separate fires and explosions caused by PG&E infrastructure since 1991.  It includes the tragic 2010 San Bruno gas explosion that left eight people dead.

The recent northern California fires have also sparked other, similar lawsuits.  The Sacramento Bee reported on a Butte County appraiser who is also planning legal action.



More Catholic Parishes release Abusive Priests’ Names

(Nov. 4, 2018)  Since a shocking report from Pennsylvania identified some 300 priests who had abused more than 1,000 victims over several decades, several more Catholic parishes have released abusive priests’ names. About 50 dioceses across the U.S. have since released the names of clergymen who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

As in Pennsylvania, some of the accused priests were transferred to other parts of the country.  In October 2018, dioceses in Indianapolis, Ind.; Washington, D.C.; Bridgeport, Conn.; and Steubenville and Youngstown, Ohio released their own lists of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse.  The state of Louisiana has also seen a whole new round of allegations of priest abuse come to light, including incidents in New Orleans, Lafayette, and Lake Charles.

New Orleans Parish releases 57 Names of Accuse Priests

The Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans last week released the names of 57 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.  In the wake of that announcement, the New Orleans district attorney is urging any victims of clergy sexual abuse to come forward with their stories.

In NOLA, Archbishop Gregory Aymond released a 10-page document with the names on Nov. 2, with a letter explaining his action.

The archbishop wrote:  “I believe it is the right thing to do in order to foster the healing of victims, in a spirit of transparency, and in the pursuit of justice.”

See the list of 57 here: #NOLA

Mr. Aymond told WDSU-TV that a dozen men and women reviewed the files of 2,432 priests who served in the archdiocese since 1950. Others looked into the files of now-dead clerics.

The archbishop told his congregation: “Some will be surprised to see the name of a priest who served in your parish or who you personally knew very well.  As you experience this disappointment, I raise you to the Lord and ask him to give you comfort and his peace.”

Mr. Aymond also gave the list to the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, and said it would be available to other DAs who ask for it.

NOLA District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said his office is ready to evaluate for possible prosecution any cases brought to him after investigations by the NOLA police department.

More Catholic Parishes release Abusive Priests’ Names

The church has been struggling in NOLA and elsewhere since the explosive Pennsylvania developments surfaced in August 2018.  The Pennsylvania grand jury report accused the Catholic Church of covering up for 300 “predator priests.”  The grand jury put the number of victims at 1,000, but pointedly said that the real number of victims is more likely several thousand. The 900-page report covered eight of Pennsylvania’s ten dioceses, about half of the state’s 3.2 million Catholics.

Cardinal Resigns amid Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal

The archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, resigned last month following the report. Prior to his D.C. promotion, Mr. Wuerl had served as the Bishop of Pittsburgh.  He is the second Catholic cardinal in the US to resign due to the sex abuse scandal.  The first was Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law in 2002.

Pope Francis praised Wuerl’s “nobility” and leadership and allowed the cardinal to remain as the caretaker until a new archbishop takes his place.  The pope has taken considerable criticism from victims and victims’ groups as a result of that stance.

Criminal and Civil Charges Differ

District attorneys can prosecute sex abuse crimes in the criminal court system, while victims may also have a chance to hold the church and/or their abuser accountable in civil court.  Victims of sexual abuse by clergy can contact a district attorney for criminal matters; they can also contact a a clergy abuse attorney for a possible civil action.

Statutes of Limitations Issues Changing

Statues of limitations govern both criminal and civil cases, limiting the time one has to file a case.  However, many states are now following in the footsteps of Minnesota to grant victims of child sexual abuse an additional grace period in which to seek justice.



Roundup Verdict Survives Monsanto Appeal

(October 23, 2018) – A Roundup verdict for a California man who was stricken with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after he used Monsanto poisons will stand.  San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos yesterday denied Monsanto’s motion to toss a verdict won this past summer by former groundskeeper DeWayne “Lee” Johnson.  Twelve jurors awarded Mr. Johnson $289 million in total damages in August 2018.

$78.5 Million Award for Monsanto Victim

Monsanto had filed a petition requesting that the judge throw out the entire jury verdict.  The judge instead slashed about $211 million from the $289 million total.  She ruled the jury’s $250 million punitive damages award needed to be reduced to $39.25 million, which was the amount the jury awarded in compensatory damages.  That makes the total award $78.5 million for the Monsanto victim.

Judge Suzanne Bolanos acknowledged the jury’s finding that Monsanto’s herbicides were a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In her 12-page order, Judge Bolanos reversed course from a tentative ruling she made in a hearing earlier this month.  She had said that Mr. Johnson had not proven Monsanto had acted with malice.  She said she would likely toss the entire punitive damages award.  But the judge ruled instead that that Mr. Johnson had established an “inference” that Monsanto had acted maliciously.  She further explained that the court had not found a case in which a “series of corporate actions and decisions” was found to be insufficient to support punitive damages.

Monsanto Malice Organization-wide
Judge Bolanos wrote in her ruling: “When the entire organization is involved in acts that constitute malice, there is no danger a blameless corporation will be punished for bad acts over which it had no control.”

Judge Bolanos ruled furthermore that it was also reasonable for the jury to conclude that Monsanto acted with malice by continuing to market and sell a dangerous product without a warning.

Nevertheless, Judge Bolanos also ruled the punitive damages must be reduced. She pointed to a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court  ruling in State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company v. Campbell, which held that the Fourteenth Amendment limits punitive damages.

Judge Bolanos wrote that when a compensatory damages award is large and primarily for noneconomic damages, the appropriate ratio between compensatory and punitive damages is one-to-one.

She said that if Mr. Johnson did not accept the reduced $39.25 million punitive damages verdict, she would grant Monsanto’s motion for a new trial as to punitive damages only.

First Roundup Cancer Trial

Mr. Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial over Monsanto’s Roundup cancer link.  The California groundskeeper was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014, after he had sprayed Monsanto’s Ranger Pro and Roundup poisons on Benicia, California school grounds.

Mr. Johnson charged that Monsanto knew of Roundup’s health risks since the 1990s, when studies began showing a link between Roundup and lymphoma.  His lawsuit petition said he used Monsanto products because he thought they were safe, because Monsanto downplayed the known dangers and failed to post a warning label.  Mr. Johnson said that soon after an equipment problem soaked him head-to-toe in Ranger Pro, his skin broke out in blistering lesions.  Doctors testified in the trial that he is dying from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

$289 Million Jury Award

Three days after deliberating in August 2918, a jury awarded Mr. Johnson $39.25 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. The award included $33 million in noneconomic damages, a million for every year of the 46-year-old’s life that he will have lost to cancer.

Monsanto claims Insufficient Evidence
After the verdict, Monsanto moved for either a new trial or a judgment notwithstanding the verdict.  Monsanto lawyers said Mr. Johnson had not given “sufficient and substantial evidence” to show Monsanto herbicides cause cancer.

Judge Bolanos flatly rejected those motions as to the punitive damages.   She also ruled there was no basis to overturn the jury’s finding on liability and toss the verdict in its entirety.

Judge allows Jury System to Work

The judge wrote that it was proper for the jury to rely on testimony from Mr. Johnson’s key causation expert, oncologist Dr. Chadi Nabhan.

Dr. Nabhan used an admissible method to support his conclusion that Roundup caused Mr. Johnson’s cancer, wrote the judge.  “Dr. Nabhan was cross-examined and the defense presented expert witnesses to criticize the basis of Dr. Nabhan’s opinion.  (The) court does not resolve scientific controversies.’ … That is a matter for the jury to resolve.”

Bayer Responds

Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto this summer, called Judge Bolanos’ ruling “a step in the right direction,” repeated its attorneys’ arguments about a lack of sufficient evidence presented at trial, and said it plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Roundup Verdict Survives Monsanto Appeal

The case is Johnson v. Monsanto Co. et al., case number CGC16550128, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco.