Lawsuits Claim Molestation by Late California Priest, Friar

Associated Press State & Local Wire
October 2, 2003

Los Angeles — A pair of lawsuits claim that a now-deceased Roman Catholic priest rushed through church services so he could molest four altar boys, and a Franciscan friar at the Santa Barbara Mission molested a 4-year-old girl and her cousin.

The suits, filed separately on Wednesday, seek unspecified damages and involve crimes allegedly committed years or even decades ago.

Four men in their 50s contend in a Los Angeles Superior Court action that the Rev. Celestine Quinlan sexually abused them from 1957-62 while he was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi School in Los Angeles.

"He rushed through Mass so he could go back and molest them" as they were changing out of their robes, attorney Lon Isaacson contended.

The priest eventually was transferred to the Archdiocese of San Francisco. He died in 1970.

The suit names the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and contends it tried to cover up the alleged actions.

In Santa Barbara, a negligence and fraud lawsuit by two cousins allege that Brother Sam Cabot, a family friend, molested them in their homes while he was based at the Santa Barbara Mission.

"We haven't seen these lawsuits. We can't comment on any specifics (but) it would appear that these claims are unfamiliar and so we are investigating them," Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said Thursday.

A 29-year-old Santa Maria woman claims that Cabot molested her when she was 4. A 27-year-old Las Vegas woman claims she was abused at age 12.

Cabot, 68, was removed from the public ministry at the Serra Retreat House in Malibu last year, said the Rev. Mel Jurisich, provincial of the Franciscan Friars of St. Barbara. He is being monitored by the Franciscan's Independent Response Team.

A telephone message left Thursday after business hours with the Independent Response Team was not immediately returned.


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