Diocese Will Pay Former Altar Boy Who Was Abused

By Susan Gembrowski
San Diego Union-Tribune
November 2, 2002

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has reached a settlement with one of three men who came forward this year with claims that retired Monsignor Rudolph Galindo sexually abused them decades ago when they were altar boys at a Chula Vista church.

The man requested that terms of the settlement remain confidential. His Del Mar attorney said yesterday that the payment came both from Galindo and the diocese's insurance company. Irwin Zalkin of Zalkin & Zimmer said the award was "in the mid six figures," but he declined to elaborate.

The Rev. Steven Callahan, chancellor of the diocese, confirmed that the diocese had settled the claim.

"The party that settled requested that the terms of the settlement not be made public," Callahan said. "While the diocese is honoring this request, in due time, ongoing diocesan reporting regarding expenditures in sexual abuse cases will include the financial implications of this case."

Bishop Robert Brom had said previously that Galindo admitted abusing the men when they were minors. Brom barred the retired priest from the ministry and asked for other victims to come forward in a letter he sent to parishioners in August.

Galindo's name had been turned over to the San Diego District Attorney's Office, but a spokeswoman said the retired priest cannot be prosecuted unless the victims cooperate.

Galindo, 73, could not be reached for comment. A diocesan spokeswoman said he remained at an undisclosed treatment center.

Zalkin also was scheduled to meet with diocesan representatives Monday to discuss the claims of the other two men who accused Galindo. However, the attorney said he received a call yesterday canceling the meeting because the diocese wasn't sure its insurance would cover their claims if settlements were reached.

Bernadeane Carr, diocesan spokeswoman, declined to comment.

But Zalkin said: "It would seem to me that the main concern should be compensating these victims and then, secondarily, work it our with your insurance company. They have put their concerns ahead of the concerns of the victims. I find that unfortunate."

The men came forward about five months ago seeking compensation from the diocese, Zalkin said, and they have not filed lawsuits. They had similar stories of abuse that occurred in the rectory, the office and Galindo's living quarters at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and on trips with the priest.

One man was 9 when the abuse began and the others were 10 or ll, Zalkin said. They served as altar boys at the same time and the abuse began in 1958 and continued for one of the victims until the early 1970s, he said.

In an interview yesterday, Brom said the diocese has not set aside money in anticipation of legal costs and possible settlements of claims or lawsuits, including three filed recently involving other priests who allegedly molested minors.

In June, after the U.S. Catholic bishops adopted a national policy for clergy who sexually abuse minors, Brom said that since he became bishop in 1990, the diocese has received such complaints against 23 priests and had paid out about $200,000 in medical and counseling services for victims. In lawsuits involving priests, Brom said some settlements had been paid by the insurance company but did not give a dollar amount.

Yesterday, he said a more detailed financial report has been compiled and would be released soon.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.