Ventura County
2nd Suit Targets Ex-Priest
A Former Altar Boy Alleges He Was Molested by Carl Sutphin at a Camarillo Parish

By Tracy Wilson
Los Angeles Times
January 6, 2004

A second lawsuit has been filed against a former Catholic priest accused of molesting boys while he served as a pastor at a Camarillo church.

The suit was filed late last month in Ventura County Superior Court by a former altar boy, now 43, who alleges he was sexually abused by the priest between 1971 and 1973 after the pastor was transferred to St.

Mary Magdalen Church in Camarillo. The suit alleges that the priest abused two boys at another Southern California parish before he was transferred.

Because of rules imposed by the state Legislature, the former priest and other defendants were not identified by name in the suit, but generally referred to as Father John Doe and Doe Archdiocese. Attorneys must get authorization from a judge before identifying the defendants in the suit.

However, attorney Philip Erickson, whose firm has now filed two lawsuits against the priest, identified him as Father Carl Sutphin.

Sutphin, 71, had been facing criminal charges of molesting six boys between 1968 and 1978 while serving as a pastor at the Camarillo church and a chaplain at an Oxnard hospital. Those charges, which he denied, were dismissed last year after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling struck down a California law allowing decades-old sex abuse cases to be prosecuted.

Erickson filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of two brothers, now 43 and 40, who alleged they were molested by Sutphin between 1971 and 1975 while serving as altar boys.

In the coming weeks, Erickson said he intends to ask a judge to name Sutphin and the Los Angeles Archdiocese as defendants in both lawsuits, which seek unspecified sums for punitive and other damages.

Reached at his home in Ventura on Monday, Sutphin declined to comment on the suits.


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