Support Group Aids Victims

City News Service
April 15, 2008

A support group that aids victims of clergy sexual abuse settled a lawsuit with a monsignor and his lawyer that alleged the two tried to stop their attempts to expose priests who are molesters, an attorney for the group said today.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in September 2006 accusing Msgr. Joseph F. Alzugaray and lawyer Neil L. Papiano of malicious prosecution.

SNAP's suit claimed that Alzugaray was attempting to use the courts to intimidate victims from speaking out against molestation by priests.

Alzugaray is the pastor of St. Apollinaris Church in Napa.

"We were able to get some compensation for this meritless, frivolous lawsuit," said SNAP attorney Fredric D. Woocher.

Woocher said the money will be used to pay the group's attorneys' fees.

Papiano, who represented Alzugaray and himself, was not immediately available for comment.

The case was set to go to trial next Tuesday.

The suit stemmed from a libel and defamation lawsuit that Papiano filed on Alzugaray's behalf in February 2004 against SNAP. Alzugaray maintained that SNAP libeled him when it issued news releases and distributed leaflets accusing him of having been a sexually abusive priest.

Alzugaray has denied being a molester. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John N. Mayeda dismissed much of that suit in 2004.

Mayeda issued an award of attorneys' fees in favor of SNAP in the first lawsuit, but Alzugaray never paid, Woocher said.


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