Priest Abuse Suit by 6 Coco Brothers Reinstated

February 10, 2009

A state appeals court in San Francisco Tuesday reinstated a lawsuit filed against a Roman Catholic bishop by six brothers who claim they were sexually abused by a priest during their childhood in Concord in the 1970s.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal overturned a ruling in which Alameda Count Superior Court Judge Kenneth Burr dismissed the Quarry brothers' 2006 lawsuit on the ground that it was filed after the statute of limitations.

The court said the case was governed by a 2002 state law that allows victims to sue employers of abusers within three years of discovering psychological damage caused by the abuse.

The brothers said in their lawsuit that they did not discover until 2006 that the cause of their adult psychological injuries was the alleged abuse.

Irwin Zalkin, a lawyer for the siblings, called the ruling "a very sound opinion."

The decision refers to the defendant only as "Bishop" and does not identify the bishop, the bishop's diocese or the priest who allegedly molested the brothers.

Zalkin said state law doesn't allow plaintiffs in such lawsuits to identify the defendants until they have filed a certificate of corroboration and received court permission.

The attorney said the plaintiffs weren't able to seek that permission before the lawsuit was dismissed in 2007, but said he now plans to ask for court approval to name the defendant.

Stephen McFeely, a lawyer for the unnamed bishop, was not immediately available for comment.

The six brothers, who chose to file the lawsuit under their own names, are Terry, Ronald, Michael, Jerry, Gordon and Tony Quarry.

Zalkin said some of them still live in the Bay Area.


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