Case against Fresno Diocese Goes to the Jury

KGPE [Fresno CA]
December 7, 2006

Juan Rocha's case against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno was handed over to the jury on Thursday.

Rocha claims Father Erik Swearingen molested him nearly 20 years ago. Swearingen testified during the trial that Rocha stayed overnight with him in church rectories three times in the late 1980's and early 1990's, but he denied ever molesting the boy.

The alleged incidents happened in Bakersfield, where Swearingen was a priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, and later in Fresno at St. Alphonsus Church.

Rocha is suing the Diocese for damages because of the alleged sexual abuse he says he endured. If the jury finds the Diocese is responsible, Rocha could be awarded financial damages.


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