CA - Ruling Due on California Abuse Cases
For immediate release:
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2004
For more information:
Rick Simons of Hayward (attorney) 510 582 1080 cell
Larry Drivon of Stockton (attorney) 209 969 0982 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis (SNAP) 314 566 9790 cell or 314 645 5915
Tentative Ruling Issued That May Open Secret Records
A Northern California judge has tentatively decided that most of the records in dozens of civil sex abuse lawsuits against Catholic clergy will be made public.
A hearing on the matter will take place at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday 10/13 in Alameda County Superior Court.
In a ruling issued late Tuesday, Judge Ronald M. Sabraw, who oversees 160 clergy sex abuse cases, determined that for now, the employment of many of the priests involved should be released "in the public interest."
Two attorneys - Larry Drivon of Stockton and Rick Simons of Hayward represent alleged victims in the cases.
"We're one step closer to the truth, despite the determined efforts of highly paid church lawyers to continue the shameful cover up," said David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "For the hundreds of wounded California men and women who are seeking justice, this is a critical victory."
Last week, Sabraw ruled that molestation victims can seek punitive damages in court against the church. He also recently set March 2005 trial dates in some cases and tossed out several other cases in which he felt there was not enough proof that church officials had known about an abusive priest's crimes.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.