New Lawsuit Filed in California Against Abusive Monsignor from New York

In a new lawsuit, a New York native priest is accused of molesting a California child. He is Monsignor Vito Frances Mistretta, originally of Brooklyn. We urge Brooklyn Catholic officials – from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio down to the parish secretaries and bookkeepers - to aggressively seek out more victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who could shed light on these abuse reports.

The case is among the first of such suits to be filed under a just-signed California “civil window” law – similar to one in New York - that gives potentially thousands of childhood sexual abuse victims (regardless of their age) three years to sue those who committed and concealed childhood sexual abuse.

In April, Mistretta was listed on the official Sacramento diocese’s ‘credibly accused clerics’ list for at least two alleged crimes. Since then, that list has been updated and now shows four known Mistretta victims.

Mistretta worked at churches in at least three California towns: Sacramento, Roseville and Citrus Heights.

The victim is Michael Thomas, who was abused as a child at Holy Family Catholic church in Citrus Heights CA in 1969. Thomas is urging others to file reports with the California attorney general if they know of or suspect abuse or cover ups by Christian Brothers. 

We strongly agree. Child sex abuse and cover ups should be dealt with the independent, unbiased professionals in law enforcement, not internally by church officials.

When Mistretta retired in 1990, he moved to his home within blocks of his church and celebrated mass “until the bishop asked him to discontinue” this practice. (No reason has been given for this unusual decision.) The Sacramento diocese publicly disclosed that it first received credible allegations of sexual abuse against Mistretta in 1993. The diocese made a confidential settlement with one of Mistretta’s victims in 2001. Mistretta is deceased.

Thomas is represented by Sacramento attorney and psychologist Dr. Joseph C. George, who has handled hundreds of similar cases.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.org)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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