Bishop, Santa Rosa Diocese Face 11 Lawsuits

By Guy Kovner
Press Democrat
August 12, 2004

Eleven civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests in the Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese are among the 161 Northern California cases consolidated before an Oakland judge.

In all cases, the suits allege diocese officials knew or should have known the accused priests were molesting children and failed to stop it.

The suits are:

* Zachary Alan Smith vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa, Gary Timmons -- Smith, 26, of Chicago attended St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Rohnert Park and alleges former priest Timmons molested him in about 1989. Timmons, who served four years in prison for molesting boys, has been defrocked. The suit was filed Dec. 26, 2002.

* Joseph Canada vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Canada alleges Timmons repeatedly molested him at church-owned Camp St. Michael in Mendocino County, at the rectory of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and on church youth outings from 1977 to 1981, when Canada was 11 to 15 years old. Filed Nov. 3, 2003.

* Roberta Saum vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Saum, a software engineer who lives in the Sierra foothill town of Gold Run and attended Resurrection Church in Santa Rosa, alleges former priest Don Kimball abused her from 1976 to 1982. Kimball's criminal conviction for molesting another girl was dismissed after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that California could not prosecute decades-old sex cases. Filed Oct. 29, 2002.

* Jane Roe vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Unidentified woman, now in her 50s, alleges an unidentified priest at a Windsor church abused her when she was 15. Filed May 22, 2003.

* Mike Doe vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Unidentified man, now in his late 40s, alleges the Rev. Patrick Gleeson repeatedly molested him at the rectory of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Calistoga when he was about 12 to 15. Gleeson, a North Coast priest for 38 years, died in 1991 at age 66. Filed Aug. 13, 2003.

* Robert Doe vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Unidentified man, who turns 44 this week, alleges he was abandoned by his widower father at age 13 and was taken in as a foster child by an unidentified priest two years later in 1975 at the Newman Center at Humboldt State University and was sexually abused by the priest when he was 15 to 17 years old. Filed July 22, 2003.

* John Doe vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Unidentified Amador County man, now in his late 40s and a former Calistoga altar boy, alleges he was repeatedly molested by Gleeson from about 1968 to 1972, when Gleeson was pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Calistoga. Filed Nov. 13, 2002.

* James Doe 1 vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Unidentified man, now about 50, alleges he was sexually abused by a priest he met at Camp St. Michael for two years, when he was about 12 to 14. Filed May 22, 2003.

* Susan Doe vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Unidentified woman, 50, alleges she was molested by an unidentified priest at Sacred Heart Church in Eureka about 1971. Filed Dec. 24, 2003.

* James Doe 2 vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Unidentified man, now mid-40s, alleges he was molested from about age 9 to 14 by an unidentified priest he met at Sacred Heart Church. Filed June 20, 2003.

* Rebecca Doe vs. Bishop of Santa Rosa -- Unidentified woman proposed consolidating 11 lawsuits into a class-action case to be settled with one lump-sum payment. Filed Dec. 24, 2003


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