Friday, August 27, 2010

2nd molestation suit hits Santa Rosa Diocese

2nd molestation suit hits Santa Rosa Diocese
Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writer

San Francisco Chronicle August 26, 2010 05:00 PM Copyright San Francisco Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Friday, August 27, 2010
(08-26) 17:00 PDT SANTA ROSA -- A second man has sued the Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Diocese, alleging he was molested by a priest sent from Ireland to work in California in the 1980s despite having been the subject of boys' complaints in his homeland.

The plaintiff in the latest case, a 38-year-old Eureka man who filed suit Thursday, said he first disclosed the alleged abuse to an ex-girlfriend several years ago but had never said anything to police or church officials.

He decided to sue, he said, after reading quotes from church officials in response to the arrest of Patrick Joseph McCabe, 74, this month for allegedly sexually assaulting six boys in Ireland from 1973 to 1981.

Federal prosecutors are seeking to extradite McCabe, who was forced from the church in the late 1980s and later settled in Alameda.

The lawsuit, filed in Sonoma County Superior Court, seeks unspecified damages for psychological and emotional harm. It says the diocese was negligent for hiring McCabe and not warning parishioners at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Eureka of his alleged history of abuse.

McCabe was pastor at the Eureka church from 1983 to 1985.

The diocese did not return a call seeking comment.

The plaintiff, referred to as "John Doe 77" in the lawsuit, said he was 11 years old and a student at St. Bernard when McCabe began assaulting him. He claimed that the abuse continued weekly for nine months to a year.

An attorney for the plaintiff, Joseph George of Sacramento, said the alleged victim's mother ran bingo games at the school to help raise money for her son's tuition.

"When she ran bingo," George said, "Father Pat said he'd watch the boy for the afternoon."

The diocese told parishioners nothing about McCabe until it posted a letter about him on its website last week. The diocese's bishop, Daniel Walsh, called for "anyone who might have been mistreated" to come forward.

The Rev. Loren Allen, who runs St. Bernard, was quoted in the Eureka Times-Standard as saying no complaints had been registered against McCabe and that "I don't think he left much of a memory with people here."

George said his client, who is now a social worker, was moved to come forward when he read the story.

"To the victim of sexual abuse, that quote just set him off," George said. "Father Pat was very memorable to him."

Last week, a 36-year-old Eureka man filed suit against the diocese, claiming that McCabe abused him more than two decades ago. He was the first U.S. resident to name McCabe in a legal complaint.

A report last year on the Dublin Archdiocese's handling of abuse cases, sponsored by the Irish government, said Catholic officials there moved McCabe to the United States after they became aware of complaints and sought to treat him with counseling and drugs.

Although McCabe's name is redacted, the details in the report are identical to McCabe's history.

The latest lawsuit makes a negligence and fraud claim, George said, because the statute of limitations has expired on criminal abuse complaints.

McCabe is being held in an Alameda County jail. His next hearing is set for Sept. 2 in San Francisco.

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