Santa Clara County court-appointed estate manager quits case after questions about fees, judgment

Santa Cruz Sentinel

By Karen de Sá

Posted: 06/30/2012

Two years after a Los Gatos Jesuit center settled an explosive sex-abuse lawsuit, a Santa Clara County judge entrusted Russ Marshall to oversee the $2.5 million awarded to one of two mentally disabled dishwashers molested for decades by clergy.

Such a delicate and high-profile assignment seemed a natural fit for Marshall, one of Silicon Valley’s premier estate and elder-care managers, overseeing $76 million in assets.

But late last year, with questions mounting over his billing practices, Marshall resigned from the case as court officials made a troubling discovery: The $50-an-hour personal companion he had hired to take his long-abused client on outings turned out to be a former priest.

“Appalled” that a former priest had been anywhere near the traumatized man, Judge Thomas Cain blocked Marshall from charging his client’s estate $19,406 for the companion’s trips to ice rinks, ballgames and other events during a 22-month period. Cain said hiring the companion “shows all kinds of problems with regard to not only background checks but judgment and everything else. He never should have been there to begin with.”

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