|Friars" Files in Sex Case Going Public
By Greg Hardesty
Orange County Register
October 1, 2010
[the court ruling]
Confidential files on six Franciscan friars accused of sexual abuse can be made public, an appeal court has ruled in a legal battle that goes back four years.
The friars – including Gus Krumm, former associate pastor at Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church in Huntington Beach – had fought the release of 154 pages of psychological evaluations and progress reports prepared for the church by psychotherapists.
Release of the therapy reports was ordered as part of a $28.5-million settlement reached in 2006 after plaintiffs in 25 separate lawsuits sued the Franciscan Friars of California for sexual abuse.
Most of the abuse the friars are accused of occurred at the now-shuttered St. Anthony's Seminary in Santa Barbara.
Thursday's ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeal upholds a previous decision by a Los Angeles County trial court.
"We hold that compelling social interests in protecting children from molestation outweigh the individual friars' privacy rights," wrote Justice Elizabeth Grimes in the published opinion. Justices Laurence Rubin and Madeleine Flier concurred.
"Indeed," Grimes wrote, "all citizens have a compelling interest in knowing if a prominent and powerful institution has cloaked in secrecy decades of sexual abuse revealed in the psychiatric records of (priests) who continued to have intimate contact with vulnerable children while receiving treatment for their tendencies toward child molestation."
In a lawsuit filed last year, a former Catholic school student accused Krumm and another priest at Sts. Simon and Jude of molesting him in the early 1990s.
Krumm was an associate pastor at Sts. Simon and Jude from July 1998 to September 1998 before he left to become head pastor of a Portland church.
He later was moved to a Sacramento church, and was removed there in 2003 after admitting to sexual misconduct with children, according to news reports.
The lawsuit accuses Diocese of Orange officials of allowing Krumm to stay at the Huntington Beach parish for at least two years after being informed in 1996 that St. Anthony's Seminary reached a settlement with a man who accused Krumm of molesting him at that school during the 1980-81 school year.
In addition to Krumm, the latest lawsuit names as defendants the Rev. Alexander Manville, the Diocese of Orange, and the Franciscan Friars of California.
Register Staff Writer Rachanee Srisavasdi contributed to this story.
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