The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
“First ever” clergy sex abuse lawsuit is filed
Novel approach uses little-known state code to address cover up
Victims who got church-paid therapy may have new legal options
If successful, dozens more similar cases could be brought forward state-wide
The alleged predator is Father Antonio Pinal (a.k.a. Fr. Costellano Jose Pinal), who is believed to now be in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
One of Pinal’s victims reported the sexual abuse to a Catholic pastor in 1988. Two diocesan representatives (including then-Bishop Francis Quinn’s lawyer) met with that victim and assured him that Pinal was going to be watched very closely and kept away from children. The church officials sent the victim to a church-chosen psychiatrist and paid for the therapy.
But in 2002, without ever notifying the victim, a diocesan lawyer disclosed the victim’s identity to a Butte County prosecutor and gave him a letter from Pinal to Quinn from 1991. In that letter, Pinal asked Quinn if Pinal had clearance to return to the United States.
The lawsuit charges that the diocese never reported Pinal to law enforcement until 2002, even though it had known of his criminal sexual misconduct some 13 years earlier. As a result, Pinal quietly returned to Mexico later in 1989, where he still works as a Catholic priest.
The lawsuit states that under the California Insurance Code, church officials were required to provide the victim with a written notice of when his statute of limitations would expire, because it had made an advanced payment (for therapy). Because the diocese never did this, the victim can take legal action even now, years after the actual crimes.
This is believed to be the first case for child sexual abuse filed under this insurance code section in California.
Pinal worked at Catholic churches in these California towns: Gridley, Biggs, Live Oak, Winters, and Esparto. He was ordained in 1980.
In 2003, according to BishopAccountability.org, “Pinal was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy in 2003, but the charges were dropped when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a new California law that would have allowed prosecution of child sexual abuse cases beyond the prior statute of limitations.”
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests