John Doe suing Catholic Diocese of Yakima for $3 million
By Natalie Eucce
March 10, 2014
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash.-- A John Doe against a would-be priest. The trial against the Catholic Diocese of Yakima started today. It's the first case of its kind to go to trial. The case stems from an alleged child rape.
Foster kid, high school student, and athlete. A man known only as John Doe was once all those things when he says he was raped by a deacon candidate. The alleged victim is suing the diocese for $3 million.
The man says Aaron Ramirez was working for Resurrection Parish in Zillah when he raped the then 17-year-old.
The alleged assault was in the late 90s. Ramirez had been assigned to the youth ministry and was in charge of the safety of kids. The case opened in federal court Monday.
John Doe's attorney claims Ramirez got the teenager drunk on church property, even using sacramental wine. Doe says he passed out on the porch and was repeatedly raped. He woke up naked and ran for help.
Ramirez fled to Mexico. It's believed he's still there.
John Doe's attorney says his client spent years moving past his own troubled childhood, and the rape only sent him on a downward spiral. Lawyers for the diocese say the teen went on to earn the best grades he ever had after his alleged rape.
The civil case argues the diocese should have done a better job checking out Ramirez's background - and should have supervised him around children.
The diocese argues it had vetted Ramirez, who was preparing for the priesthood. This is the first time the diocese has gone to trial over alleged sex abuse. A judge, not a jury, will decide the result.
The first witnesses testified today with more to come throughout the trial. The bench trial is expected to last at least a week.