Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa and St. Mary Immaculate Parish

Digital Journal
August 21, 2013

SANTA ROSA, Calif., Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys representing the victim of child sexual abuse, allegedly committed by a former priest and pastor of St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Lakeport, filed a civil lawsuit late yesterday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa and St. Mary Immaculate Parish.  The case was filed in Superior Court in Sonoma County.

The lawsuit accuses the Diocese and the Parish of failing to protect plaintiff, and all children, from a known sexual predator.  Father Ted Oswald, the alleged perpetrator had been previously accused of sexual misconduct with minors dating back to the 1980's.  In 2009, the Diocese of Santa Rosa paid $1.3 million to settle another sexual abuse lawsuit against Father Oswald. 

This suit alleges that Father Ted Oswald sexually abused the victim, while the victim was serving as an altar boy and participating in the parish youth group under Father Ted Oswald's supervision.  

Plaintiff's attorney Skye Daley said, "Knowing the alleged perpetrator had a history of child sexual abuse, the Diocese of Santa Rosa and St. Mary Immaculate Parish had a responsibility to keep its parish members and their children safe from child sexual abusers.  Instead, the Diocese allowed Father Ted Oswald to continue with his duties of hearing confessions from minors, overseeing altar servers, running youth programs, counseling programs and church-sponsored trips and events.  The parish members were led to believe their children were safe. They were not."

The abuse began with Father Ted Oswald traveling to the victim's home under the guise of providing spiritual guidance and support to his family.

The suit alleges that the physical sexual abuse began after Father Oswald hired the Plaintiff to wash his large motor coach, parked in front of Father Oswald's home.  Father Oswald would then invite him to come inside his home, where he would sexually abuse and harass him.  He gave the boy victim alcohol and groped him both over and under his clothing.  He also abused the victim inside the back office at St. Mary Immaculate.

Father Oswald died in July 2010 at the age of 65.

About Skye Daley and Manly, Stewart & Finaldi:

Skye Daley is an attorney with Manly, Stewart & Finaldi representing victims of childhood sexual abuse. Prior to joining the firm, he worked for The Honorable Harry Pregerson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Over the past decade, the legal team at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi have been heavily involved in the most significant sexual abuse actions litigated across the nation, assisting in the recovery of more than a billion dollars—through trial and settlement—on behalf of sexual abuse victims. 


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