|Brothers" Priest-abuse Lawsuit Going to Jury
By Vik Jolly
Orange County Register
October 12, 2011
SANTA ANA – Jurors will begin deliberations Monday in the case of two brothers who say they were molested by Franciscan priests at a Huntington Beach parish nearly two decades ago.
The lawsuit, filed in 2009, accuses Gus Krumm and Alexander Manville of sexual misconduct during 1992-94 when the two were priests at Sts. Simon and Jude.
Krumm, a former Franciscan friar, has admitted to instances of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s elsewhere. The civil lawsuit alleges that church officials knew about his past but did nothing to keep him from interacting with children at the Huntington Beach parish.
"It happens in the church and the churches are busy and the perpetrators don't get caught, especially the priests ... the priests are up on the pedestal," Ronald Schwartz said in his closing arguments in Orange County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Defense attorneys argued that the brothers concocted the stories of abuse in part for financial gain, labeling one of the brothers' accusations as a "methamphetamine fueled fantasy."
"Their memories conflict with a mountain of evidence," said attorney Brian Brosnahan, who represents Manville. "The villain in this case is methamphetamines."
Defense attorneys won a ruling earlier this year when Judge Nancy Wieben Stock determined that there wasn't enough evidence for the plaintiffs to seek punitive damages for the alleged sexual misconduct.
The brothers are pursuing general damages for allegations of sexual battery, negligence and other causes of action.
Krumm served as an associate pastor at Sts. Simon and Jude from July 1988 to September 1998. As pastor from 1982 to 1994, Manville was Krumm's supervisor for six years.
Paul Gaspari, the lawyer for the Franciscan Friars of California, said that while Krumm lied to fellow Franciscans and is worthy of contempt, his pattern of abuse in the cases of seven teen-agers well before the brothers' allegations surfaced is starkly different.
"It just doesn't fit," he told jurors.
Register staff writer Greg Hardesty and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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