Diocese Expects More Lawsuits in Clergy Abuse

By Jennifer Garza
Sacramento Bee
June 26, 2006

Officials with the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento expect four new lawsuits will be filed alleging clergy sexual abuse.

Four men have accused Javier Garcia, a former Sacramento priest, of sexually molesting them.

The diocese and the plaintiffs' attorney had been in settlement talks.

The alleged incidents happened between 1987 and 1994 at Holy Rosary Parish in Woodland, Our Lady of Lourdes in Colusa and Sacred Heart Parish in Maxwell.

The diocese has previously settled eight claims involving Garcia, who fled to Mexico after charges were filed against him by the Yolo County district attorney in 1995.

"Javier Garcia is a fugitive who should be put on trial and made to face justice," said Andrea Miller, counsel for the diocese, in a statement.

Diocesan officials said they learned of the new claims against Garcia in January and the two sides agreed to mediation.

Church officials made an offer to settle after reviewing interviews and depositions of the four men, even though church officials believe the statute of limitations had expired for two of the claims, says Kevin Eckery, spokesman for the diocese.

"The decision was made to extend an offer because we are open to the fact that abuse could have taken place," said Eckery.

He would not say the amount of the offer but did say "it was in the seven figures for the four men combined."

Joseph George, attorney for the four men, said he learned that the mediation was over in a news release sent out by the diocese Monday.

"It came as news to us that negotiations were over," said George.

"We thought we were still mediating."


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