Multiple child sex abuse lawsuits filed against Catholic Diocese of San Diego

The Coast News

January 23, 2020

By Tawny McCray

Alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse by now-deceased priests who operated throughout San Diego County, including in Encinitas, are looking for a little bit of closure as they pursue legal action against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Six lawsuits were filed Jan. 2 against the Diocese and numerous local parishes on behalf of the 20 alleged victims — 14 of them male and six of them female.

The suits allege that the abuse took place in the 1960s and 70s and involves accusations of priests engaging in inappropriate behavior with minors that includes touching, fondling and massaging; kissing; oral copulation; masturbation; and simulated anal intercourse.

The victims were previously unable to pursue legal action against the Diocese, but recently enacted AB 218 expands the statute of limitations and opened a three-year window, starting this year, for victims to file suit.

Attorney Irwin Zalkin, whose office filed the six lawsuits, said his clients are seeking some sort of monetary compensation for the harm that’s been done.

“For these victims they’ve lived a life of incredibly difficult emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxieties, depression, difficulties in relationships, and substance abuse,” Zalkin said Jan. 20. “The impact of child sexual abuse is devastating, it’s lifelong and it really derails the normal development of a human being.”

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