Lawyers Announce Abuse Lawsuits against San Diego, San Bernardino Dioceses

Associated Press State & Local Wire [San Diego]
February 11, 2003

Lawyers for two women who claim they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests in California announced Tuesday that they were filing two class-action lawsuits against the Catholic Dioceses of San Diego and San Bernardino.

Both victims are represented by a Beverly Hills law firm, which filed the claims under a state law that took in effect in January and extends the statute of limitations on child abuse cases.

In the San Diego case, the victim, identified in court papers as Patty M., accuses Monsignor James T. Booth of sexually assaulting her between 1969 and 1970 while Booth was at Mission San Diego del Alcala. Patty M. was 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, her attorneys said.

In 1971, Booth, who ran a summer tour program at the Mission for teenage girls, left the priesthood to marry a 19-year-old parishioner, said Raymond Boucher, an attorney for the victim.

Bernadeane Carr, a spokeswoman for the diocese, did not immediately return a message left seeking comment. She has said that the diocese does not comment on such cases as a matter of policy.

The victim in the San Bernardino case, identified only as Jane Doe, accuses the Rev. Franz Robier of sexually assaulting her between 1959 and 1960 at San Anthony's parish. The victim was 13 at the time of the abuse.

The abuse ended when church officials were confronted by the victim's mother. Robier, who has since died, was not removed from the parish. He retired in 1983.

The Rev. Howard Lincoln, a spokesman for the diocese, said he had not received a copy of the lawsuit and could not comment.


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