Ramona priest named in Diocese sexual abuse lawsuit

San Diego Union Tribune / Ramona Sentinel

January 9, 2020

Multiple lawsuits were filed Thursday against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego and numerous local parishes on behalf of alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse, with recently enacted legislation allowing such legal action even if the alleged abuse occurred outside of the statute of limitations.

The suits allege abuse in the 1960s and 70s by now-deceased priests who operated throughout San Diego County, including in Ramona. 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 said that each time abuse was discovered, priests were simply moved to other parishes where they could continue their behavior, with free access to new victims.

According to Zalkin, the Diocese routinely dealt with the problem of “bad priests” by sending them to desert communities, “where they thought they could hide, where they thought that the people there – mostly Hispanic – would not speak up, and they would be out of the limelight, so to speak.”

Zalkin’s office filed six lawsuits Thursday, Jan. 2, on behalf of 20 victims, but he said around 60 additional lawsuits are still being prepared and will be filed within the next 60 to 90 days.

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