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Diocese of Orange ACCUSED PRIESTS

Since the Boston Globe investigation in 2002 revealed the systemic prevalence of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, thousands of victims have come forward to expose their abusers. In response to the credible allegations, the California Legislature set a one-year time period for child sex abuse victims to file lawsuits in 2003 regardless of when the abuse occurred. In many instances, victims would not have been able to come forward otherwise because the statute of limitations had passed for each individual claim.

In January 2005, as a result of all California childhood sexual abuse survivors being able to file within this one-year period, 90 victims received compensation via a record $100 million settlement from the Diocese for sex abuse suffered at the hands of clergy members.

However, in recent years, California lawmakers realized that the current statute of limitations restricts victims from coming forward timely. As a result, the state extended its statute of limitations to allow child sexual abuse survivors to file civil claims until their 40th birthday. Additionally, new legislation commencing on January 1, 2020, and continuing for three years, enables all survivors, even those whose cases were previously barred, to file civil claims for compensation, regardless of their current age or how long ago the abuse happened.

In December 2018, a 60-page report identified 72 priests associated with the Diocese of Orange and suspected of sexual assault of minors. This report and a lawsuit filed simultaneously intended to force the Diocese to release hidden files on priests accused of misconduct and any information the religious institution has been covering up for years.

The Diocese of Orange released only two lists throughout many years, one in 2004 listing 16 priests and another in 2016 naming 14 priests suspected of child sexual abuse. Neither of the Diocese’s lists is complete, and the information is not incorporated between the two, making them completely separate lists, thereby further masking the Diocese’s findings and encouraging continued cover-ups.

In a revised report from December 2019, the Diocese detailed the steps it’s taken to address the sexual abuse of minors within its confines and included a list of credibly accused priests in the Diocese of Orange. The report explains that the Diocese has had a comprehensive approach since 2002, ensuring the safety of children and teens. It also utilizes thorough screening, including background checks and fingerprinting, for all adults who are likely to come into contact with children.

The report also notes the Diocese has an Oversight Review Board operating since 2003. It receives and evaluates allegations of sexual abuse and makes recommendations to the Bishop on how to proceed in each case. However, the system isn’t failproof. While the 2018 report names 72 priests suspected of sexual abuse, the Diocese’s report only lists 18 priests within the Diocese of Orange with credible allegations of sexual abuse, leaving a gap of 54 presumed pedophile priests potentially still serving the Diocese.

The lack of transparency from the Diocese has created an uncertain environment where victims find it difficult to come forward with allegations. Additionally, the significant gap between the Diocese’s divulged information and the public’s experience and findings creates distrust and a disconnect as to whether victims should feel safe, heard, and can reasonably seek justice.

A sexual abuse attorney can help you bridge this gap. The cover-ups by the Diocese, including missing reports, inaccurate numbers, and internal investigations that yield inadequate outcomes, must come to an end with exposure by those individuals harmed by this broken system. We want to help you break that silence and get the justice you deserve for the suffering you endured.

Contact our team of sexual abuse lawyers at Herman Law today for a free evaluation of your case and an opportunity to pursue monetary remedies and much-needed closure.

Members and former members of clergy removed from ministry

  • Christian Anderson
  •  Michael Harris
  •  John Lenihan
  •  Michael Pecharich
  •  Caesar Salazar
  • Rev. Franklin Buckman (life of prayer and penance)
  • Rev. Richard Coughlin (life of prayer and penance)
  • Rev. Denis Lyons (life of prayer and penance)
  • Rev. John Ruhl (life of prayer and penance)
  • Rev. Gerardo Tanilong (Deceased)
  • Robert Foley (voluntary permanent leave)
  • Dominic Nguyen (voluntary permanent leave)
  • Rev. Jerome Henson (life of prayer and penance)

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