Ex-Newark Priest Added to Abuse Suit
Lawsuit Increases Number of Clergy Molestation Cases in the Tri-City Area to Seven
By Linh Tat
The Argus [California]
April 24, 2005
NEWARK — A former Newark priest is being sued by a former altar boy who said he was molested at St. Edward Catholic Church in the 1980s, bringing the number of Tri-City area priests to be accused of such acts to seven.
According to the lawsuit, the former alter boy accuses Rev. Gary Luiz, who was assigned to St. Edward at the time, of molesting him from about 1980 to 1986.
Luiz, now serving at a Berkeley monastery, refused to comment and hung up on an Argus reporter Friday.
The plaintiff attended the church's school from 1976 to 1982 and worked at the rectory at the time of the alleged incidents, according to the suit, filed by Katherine K. Freberg, an attorney at the Irvine-based law firm representing the man who is now 35.
Luiz fondled the student's genitals and buttocks, rubbed or massaged his body, engaged in masturbation, mentioned pornography, gave the boy gifts and took him on trips, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiff continues to seek medical and psychological treatment, according to the suit.
In addition to the priest, the suit names the parish and the Diocese of Oakland.
The plaintiff's parents reported to St. Edward's pastor about 1984, that Luiz molested their son, but no actions were taken against the priest, according to the suit.
Instead, Luiz continued to have daily contact with students. In effect, the church and diocese allowed Luiz to continue molesting minors, the suit said.
Rev. Jeffrey Keyes, who did not become pastor of St. Edward until after Luiz left Newark, said it's untrue that the church did not take immediate action.
To his knowledge, Keyes said, the church did not learn of the allegations until about 1990 — after Luiz transferred to St. Barnabas in Alameda.
"As soon as it became known to the church, Father Luiz was removed (from St. Barnabas) immediately. I've always been proud of the way our religious community dealt with the situation," said Keyes, who was not involved in Luiz's dismissal.
Luiz, who in 1990 was serving as as- sistant pastor at St. Barnabas, wassent away immediately for treatment and later earned a degree in canon law, Keyes said. He now works in a missionary office and has no contact with young people, Keyes said.
According to the lawsuit, Luiz transferred to a Berkeley monastery by 1995.
In addition to Luiz, six former Fremont and Union City priests also have been accused of sex abuse.
The seven suits are part of about 160 Northern California cases involving 200 plaintiffs classified as "Clergy III." The cases are among those coordinated by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw, and are scheduled to go to trial as courtrooms become available.
Hundreds of similar suits in Los Angeles and San Diego counties have been classified under Clergy I and II.
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