Molestation Suit Targets Diocese
The Priest Who Allegedly Abused a Local Man Fled to Mexico in 1995
By Jennifer Garza
August 6, 2002
A Sacramento man sued the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento on Monday, alleging he was sexually abused as a child more than two decades ago and the diocese hasn't done enough to bring the priest to justice.
The lawsuit claims the man, identified only as John Doe, was sexually abused by the Rev. Francisco Javier Garcia from 1970 to 1975 while Garcia was serving at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sacramento.
Following other allegations, Garcia fled to Mexico in 1995, and he is believed to be there now. Garcia is wanted on a dozen felony molestation charges in Yolo and Colusa counties.
"Our client would like to see this man extradited," said Sacramento attorney Joseph George at a press conference on the steps of the diocesan headquarters on Broadway.
With George was Stockton attorney Larry Drivon and David Clohessy, the national director of Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests. Clohessy was in Sacramento talking to legislators and other officials.
The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, seeks unspecified damages.
Sacramento diocesan officials say they are doing everything they can to bring Garcia back to the United States.
"Father Garcia is a fugitive from justice," said the Rev. James Murphy, spokesman for the diocese. "We are working to right the wrongs that have been done."
Clohessy said Bishop William Weigand, leader of the diocese's 500,000 Catholics, must do more.
"The bishops made a lot of promises. ... We're calling on Bishop Weigand to do what he promised," he said.
Murphy said Weigand has reached out to victims. "He has been active in asking people to come forward. That's why he held town hall meetings," Murphy said.
Garcia served at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sacramento and Holy Rosary Parish in Woodland. He also served at Sacred Heart Church in Maxwell, Colusa County.
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