Monterey Diocese Sued over Sex Abuse Allegations

Sacramento Bee
August 3, 2011

Two men have filed separate lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey, claiming negligence by church officials allowed them to be molested by priests.

In one suit, the plaintiff says he was 9 when he was first molested by Father William Allison in the rectory of San Carlos Church in 1966.

The abuse continued for 18 months, although the man only recently discovered the psychological damage it inflicted, according to the suit filed on July 21 in Sacramento County.

It further claims diocese officials were aware of previous allegations of abuse against Allison and had reason to suspect he was abusing the boy, but did not inform his family. Allison is no longer alive, according to diocese spokesman Warren Hoy.

"At no time did defendant diocese ever send an official ... to advise parishioners either verbally or through a church bulletin that there were credible allegations against Father Allison," the suit contends.

Hoy told the Monterey Herald diocese officials would have to retrieve Allison's personnel file from offsite archives before they could respond to the allegations against him.

The other suit accuses a Salinas priest, Rev. Antonio Cortes, of abusing a 16-year-old boy. The situation led the teen to try committing suicide twice, according to the suit.

"The horrific abuse that was perpetrated upon (the victim) has had an enormous impact on his life and has caused him immeasurable pain and suffering," the suit, filed July 11, claims.

Cortes pleaded no contest in March to sexually abusing the teen in 2009 while working at St. Mary of the Nativity Church in Salinas and is currently serving a one-year jail term.

Both suits claim negligence by the diocese and seek unspecified damages.

Hoy told the Herald the diocese has informed Cortes that he will need to hire his own attorney.

The diocese has faced at least one other lawsuit alleging abuse by one of its priests. It settled that suit in 2009 for $1.2 million.


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