Revised law paves way for new lawsuit alleging Reedley priest abused women


January 6, 2020

By Corin Hoggard

A new state law has paved the way for a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

It claims a priest active in Reedley right now sexually abused at least two girls decades ago.

One of the women came forward last June about alleged abuse by Monsignor John Esquivel in 1983. The other one is still anonymous, but she says he abused her in 1971. And a new law means there’s no statute of limitations right now.

The memories feel fresh for Sylvia Gomez Ray.

“It was inappropriate touching, groping, massages that were inappropriate that led to groping my butt,” she said.

Six months ago, she accused Esquivel of sexual abuse in 1983 when as a 17-year-old, she worked as a secretary at St. Joseph’s in Bakersfield.

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