KXAS [Dallas TX]
March 30, 2022
By Candace Sweat
[Photo above: Michael Pedevilla, survivor of abuse by Jesuit scholastic Donald Dickerson. Screen image from video of this report. See also the first pages of the original complaint, shown briefly in the video, a detailed early version of the complaint, and a detailed later version of the complaint.]
An attorney for the Dallas-area men who brought a lawsuit against priests at Jesuit College Preparatory School Dallas for alleged sexual abuse spoke to the public about the settlement Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges priests at Jesuit College Preparatory School Dallas sexually abused students there in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The lawsuit was settled Wednesday.
According to a report by our media partners at The Dallas Morning News, school president Mike Earsing said in a letter sent Wednesday to the local Jesuit community that he believed the nine Dallas-area men who brought a lawsuit against the school, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and the Society of Jesuits’ USA Central and Southern Province, the Catholic religious order that includes Dallas.
The men and their lawyers issued a joint statement with the school, the diocese, and the order announcing some details of the settlement. Financial compensation for the men will be kept confidential, the lawyers said.
he school agreed to take steps to prevent further abuse, according to the statement. Those measures include designating an attorney to field any complaints from potential victims and an on-campus memorial for victims of sexual abuse by religious leaders.
Michael Pedevilla said he remembers a time when he felt no one would ever believe what had happened to him at Jesuit Prep. He’s one of the nine men who chose to come forward.
“I recall trying to tell my mother on several occasions what took place, and she didn’t want to hear it, couldn’t hear it, didn’t want to believe it,” he said.
He was 14 and 15 during the time of sexual abuse at hands of Priests at Jesuit College Preparatory School Dallas. Some 40+ years later, he came forward again. This time a legal team believed him and took his case.
“When I arrived at his office one day and he pushed that petition across to me I wept,” said Pedevilla. “Because for the first time my story had been heard and believed and it was finally out of my head now.”