Molestation Charges Dismissed against Former Priest

By Grace Lee
San Bernardino Sun (San Bernardino, CA)
June 30, 2003

Prosecutors this morning in Ventura County dismissedcharges against a former Catholic priest charged with molesting six children, ages 7 through 12.

The case against 71-year-old Carl Sutphin of Ventura was dismissedfollowing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that struck down a law extending the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases.

Deputy District Attorney Doug Ridley said that as a result of theruling, the 71-year-old retired priest had gotten a "scot-free."

Sutphin was a priest at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Camarillo from1971-75. He was a chaplain with the St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard from 1975-1991. The charges, prosecutors said, stemmed from his time in those Ventura County parishes.

"Because of his position of authority, he was able to convince thechildren to go along with the sexual acts, and it took them years to be able to come forward," Ridley said. "The victims are disgusted and bitter."

According to prosecutors, Sutphin was accused of molesting thechildren on several trips, including a fishing trip and on the way home from a local mission. He was also accused of abusing a child during the sacrament of confession, prosecutors said.

After charges involving four alleged victims were filed, two morereported victims stepped forward, prosecutors said.

Sutphin, who pleaded innocent to the charges, was an associate pastorat St. Vibiana's Cathedral in 1995 and Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.


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