CA - Lawsuit says Catholic officials misled victims
- Lawsuit says Catholic officials misled victims
- Santa Fe Springs school is 1st target of new ruling
- Woman says church paid for counseling but deceived her
- Court decision will expose more predators, SNAP believes
Holding signs and photos of themselves when they were abused, child sex abuse victims will announce the first lawsuit filed under a recent, landmark ruling by the California Court of Appeals. The suit charges that:
- A priest sexually abused a girl at a Santa Fe Springs High School
- Church officials knew, years earlier, the cleric was an abuser
- When she reported to church officials, they didn't tell her she had legal rights, and
- Instead, they gave her counseling to keep her quiet about abuse
Victims will also:
- Demand that church officials reach out to every person who received church-paid counseling in 2003,
- Tell these victims that, under the new court decision, they have new legal options, and
- Urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered abuse to call law enforcement, not church officials
Outside of St. Paul High School
9635 Greenleaf Avenue (at Los Nietos) in Santa Fe Springs
VICTIMS WILL NOT MEET WITH, DISTURB, OR APPROACH STUDENTS AT THE SCHOOL
Wednesday, September 5 at 11 am
Three to four members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation's largest support group for men and women sexually abused as children in religious and institutional organizations, including an Orange County woman who sued the church in 2003 for sexual abuse by the cleric, Fr. Michael Stephen Nocita.
This week, a California woman filed the first lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court under a landmark Court of Appeal ruling that potentially gives hundreds of victims of child sex crimes and cover-up new rights in the courts.
The decision, handed down in August 2012, says that victims who received counseling from the Catholic church for sexual abuse in 2003 (or any time they had the ability to expose their abuser in the courts) but did not take legal action may now file lawsuits. http://theworthyadversary.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ME-Doe-Decision.pdf
In many cases, today’s new suit charges, Catholic officials did not tell victims they had rights, and instead used offers of desperately-needed counseling to deceptively help ensure that victims would not report to law enforcement.
SNAP believes that the ruling and this new lawsuit will offer many victims hope and enable them to expose more child molesting clerics predators whose crimes remain hidden even now.
According to the suit, Fr. Nocita, a notorious predator, sexually violated a young student at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs in the 1980s. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ca_la/LA_Times_Assignments_2.htm#Nocita. Fr. Nocita was a teacher at the school at the time and church officials known for years he had allegedly molested at least one other girl. When Doe went to church officials for report her abuse in 2003, the lawsuit charges, they did not inform her that she had civil rights under California's landmark civil “window” law – passed in 2002 - which gave victims of child sexual abuse a one year to take action in the courts, no matter when they were abused.
Instead, church officials offered her counseling, the lawsuit says, in the hopes that she would not learn of or pursue action under the new law.
Fr. Nocita has been removed from the priesthood currently lives in southern California. SNAP hopes that this latest lawsuit will encourage victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward to law enforcment.
This is not the first scandal to hit St. Paul High School. In June, a former principal of the school was sentenced to 180 days in jail for stealing $64,000 from the school. http://www.whittierdailynews.com/ci_20977139/former-st-paul-high-school-principal-gets-180
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director, [email protected], 949-322-7434
Esther Miller of Huntington Beach, SNAP Orange County Director, [email protected], 562-673-9442
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, [email protected], 314-503-0003