Suits Allege Priest Abuse

By Jessica M. Pasko
Monterey Herald
October 23, 2012

SANTA CRUZ €” A Santa Barbara-based law firm has filed suits on behalf of three alleged victims of a California priest who did two stints in the Santa Cruz area, including an assignment in Soquel from 2007-09.

The most recent suit against the Rev. Don Flickinger was filed late last month in San Francisco County on behalf of a 25-year-old man who alleges he was abused by the priest in the late 1990s at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in San Jose.

The suit names the Roman Catholic Bishop of San Jose, the St. Frances Cabrini School and Church, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Fresno, the Diocese of Fresno Education Corp. and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco, among others.

In their papers, attorneys David Nye and Timothy Hale allege that their client was abused long after the defendants received multiple reports of abuse by Flickinger dating back to the 1970s.

The latest suit seeks damages and injunctive relief for negligence, emotional distress, child sexual abuse and other claims. The attorneys are pushing for a jury trial.

No one from the Archdiocese of Fresno, where Flickinger was incardinated, was available for comment Tuesday.

Previously, the attorneys have filed suits on behalf of a young woman allegedly abused by Flickinger at the Sacred Heart Parish and school in Saratoga, and a young man claiming he was abused by Flickinger in 2001 at St. Frances Cabrini Parish. After the latter suit was filed in August 2011, the Diocese of San Jose released a statement saying that while Flickinger resided in the Diocese of San Jose from 1991 until 2006, he was not a priest of that Diocese.

"Based upon letters of good standing from the Diocese of Fresno, he was allowed to live in diocesan rectories while he cared for his ailing mother," officials there said.

Hale and Nye claim that with each report of abuse, the leaders transferred Flickinger from assignment to assignment, with him serving at least 17 assignments in seven Roman Catholic dioceses/archdioceses.

While serving with the Diocese of Monterey, Flickinger spent 1988-1989 at the Star of the Sea Church in Santa Cruz and later served from 2007-2009 at St. Clare's Retreat Center in Soquel.

"While we have yet to identify any Diocese of Monterey victims, we have identified victims at every location Father Flickinger was assigned where we have interviewed witnesses," Hale said.

His firm has interviewed witnesses from Fresno, Saratoga and San Jose.

"With his extensive assignment history around the state, we just haven't been able to marshal the resources to send an investigator to the Monterey Diocese locations yet," Hale said.

Flickinger, who was ordained in 1964, is now retired.


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