The Catholic Church has been plagued with accusations of clergy sexual abuse for decades. Still, the Church has often responded by covering up these crimes and transferring abusive priests to other parishes.
- Clergy Sexual Abuse is Nothing New
- What is Clergy Sexual Abuse?
- The Impact of Clergy Sexual Abuse
- The History of Child Sex Abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Orange
- Priest Abuse Victims Speak Out
- Catholic Church Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyers
- Not All Abuse Cases Result in Criminal Charges
- The California Child Victim Act
- Diocese of Orange County Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys Can Help
- The Roman Catholic Church Independent Compensation Program
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) Settlement Program
- Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Orange Diocese Sexual Assault Attorney
- California Assembly Bill Extends the Statute of Limitations
- California Independent Compensation Program Helps Victims Heal
- The Warning Signs of Child Sex Abuse
- Hire an Orange Clergy Abuse Attorney to Resolve Your Sexual Assault Case
- List of Clergy Abusers in the Diocese of Orange
Were you sexually abused by an employee at the Roman Catholic dioceses or other religious institutions? Was the Catholic priest publicly accused of harming others? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys represent clients who are sexually molested victims dealing with physical harm and psychological injury caused by predator priests.
Contact California clergy sexual abuse attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Clergy Sexual Abuse is Nothing New
For two millenniums, Catholicism has spread the truth of finding salvation through the Vatican papacy. Under the guidance of Pope Francis, ordained men are given the authority to preach the word and forgive parishioners’ sins.
Sadly, many priests, bishops, cardinals, pastors, and other religious leaders use their power to harm innocent children and vulnerable adults through sexual abuse or molestation. Less than ten years ago, the Vatican took a stand to ensure the protection of children by handling cases involvingclergy abuse and sexual misconductappropriately.
The new policy of protecting young people extends to parishes in all areas worldwide, including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, Dioceses of Fresno, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Diocese of San Diego, and other Catholic dioceses.
What is Clergy Sexual Abuse?
In the Roman Catholic Church, clergy sexual abuse is often treated as a sin requiring forgiveness instead of a crime. This form of sexual assault involves any forced or coerced sexual contact between a member of the Church and someone under their direct care or authority.
Many cases involve priests taking advantage of the most vulnerable parishioners, including the sacrament of reconciliation (also known as confession). Men of God will ask parishioners to confess their sins privately but then use that private meeting time to abuse victims sexually.
Other cases of widespread sexual abuse involve priests molesting children or teens entrusted into their care for religious education and training. In addition, childhood sexual abuse often uses young people’s vulnerability to exploit their innocence.
The Impact of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Clergy sexual abuse can damage victims because the perpetrator was supposed to be held to a higher standard of behavior. Parishioners trust authorities in the Church, but that trust is broken when vulnerable people are used for priests’ sick sexual gratification.
The trauma caused by clergy sexual abuse can be long-lasting and life-changing. Many sexual abuse survivors experience:
- Lowered self-esteem
- Loss of faith in the Church
- Social isolation
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety or depression
- Eating disorders
- Self-harm or mutilation
- Dissociative reaction, such as believing that you are disappearing from the world
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Suicidal tendencies or thoughts
Please note that victims may experience more than one of these symptoms, and the impact may not surface until later in life. However, the negative consequences of such traumatic experiences can affect personal relationships and future employment opportunities.
The History of Child Sex Abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Orange
For decades, the Catholic Dioceses of Orange church leaders have covered up childhood sexual abuse allegedly committed by priests, laypeople, and other clergy members.
Sexual misconduct and molestation committed by members of the Roman Catholic Church were first reported in the early 1990s. Still, it wasn’t until 2002 that Diocese of Orange leaders announced they would take action to ensure children were protected from future sexual predators.
Priest Abuse Victims Speak Out
Due to the sudden popularity of media outlets like newspapers, television reports, and the internet, many clergy abuse victims have come forward to speak about their experiences. In addition, the Church has spent millions in settlement costs due to lawsuits brought against priests who are accused of committing sexual crimes against children or vulnerable adults.
One case bringing much-needed attention to the issue is the pending sexual abuse lawsuit involving Father Scott Kimball. Since 2004, the Diocese of Orange has paid out more than $5 million in total costs to settle different claims involving Kimball.
In addition, one victim recently filed another lawsuit against Kimball and the Diocese of Orange for alleged sexual abuse that occurred during her time at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.
The Settlement Process of the Diocese of Orange established many guidelines for how victims can file a claim against the Church, including:
- A sexual abuse survivor must contact the Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator. The coordinator will provide information about filing a claim and get more information from the claimant to determine if they qualify for assistance.
- Clergy sexual abuse survivors who are eligible can receive counseling, financial compensation, and other services to help them heal.
- Claimants are required to sign a release of claims before the process can begin. It ensures that all claims related to sexual abuse against minors or vulnerable adults committed by members of the Diocese of Orange clergy will be reported in writing. It also guarantees that victims will receive the right advice and support to resolve issues related to their abuse.
Unfortunately, clergy abuse continues to happen rapidly throughout the Roman Catholic Church without accountability.
As a result, our Orange Clergy abuse attorneys have helped our clients secure financial compensation for their damages, physical injury, and psychological trauma. In addition, our experienced attorneys can analyze your case and determine how best to move forward.
Catholic Church Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Have you or someone you know suffered as a result of clergy abuse? You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have sustained, including:
- Emotional trauma and injury caused by sexual molestation, death threats, and domestic violence
- Loss of income and life opportunities due to reputational damage
- Medical bills incurred as a result of physical injuries
Our experienced Orange family law attorneys may be able to help you secure the financial compensation you deserve. First, let us review your case today. Then, we will take the time to listen to your story, determine how we can help, and answer any questions you may have.
Not All Abuse Cases Result in Criminal Charges
Many victims handle childhood sexual abuse privately through civil litigation rather than reporting the crime to law enforcement. Some clergy sexual abuse claims cannot be prosecuted criminally due to the statute of limitations.
In California, a child under 14 years old must file a civil action within eight years from the abuse date. However, if the victim is over 16 at the time of filing and under 26 when they discover the harm caused by molestation, they have to file an action within three years of the date they knew about their injury.
However, some child molestation cases may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony if there is evidence that sexual intercourse occurred or an arrest warrant has been issued after sexual abuse allegations with someone under 18 years old. Criminal charges can also apply if the abuse happened when the victim was over 18 years old.
The California Child Victim Act
in 2020, the state legislature changed the California Child Victim Act to help child sexual abuse victims. The timeline for filing civil claims involving sexual abuse will be extended to the age of 28. Additionally, all current and future claims will be able to take place within one year of the bill’s signing into law.
Unlike the old statute, these new changes to the law will not require victims to show they suffered any personal injury. It means you don’t have to receive medical treatment for your injuries to file a civil claim for clergy sexual abuse.
Additionally, the 2020 law allows clergy sexual abuse victims to file claims against already dead perpetrators or their estates.
The statute of limitations will not apply in any criminal case involving sexual abuse involving a minor, even when the minor is over the age of 28. It means that if you choose to report your clergy sexual abuse case to law enforcement, it can still be criminally prosecuted even if you are over the age of 28.
Diocese of Orange County Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys Can Help
The United States Roman Catholic Church, under the guidance of Pope Francis, continues to face serious problems involving predator priests in the religious community.
As a result, many sexual assault victims have taken a stand, faced their molesters, and filed civil lawsuits against the Church to hold their abusive clergy members accountable.
If you are a clergy abuse survivor harmed by a Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County Church leader, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help.
Contact aCaliforniaclergy sexual abuse lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule afree, no-obligation case consultation. Let us hear your horrific story and discuss the best pathways to resolve your case and ensure you receive financial compensation for your damages.
A recent change in the California statute of limitations law now provides new opportunities for plaintiffs to file a clergy sexual abuse claim against the Church. In addition, complainants can file a civil case even if the California statute of limitations has expired since the abuse occurred.
Our legal team handles Orange County, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles sexual abuse cases involving a religious child molester who is currently in “active ministry,” removed from the priesthood, retired, was placed on administrative leave, or died.
The Roman Catholic Church Independent Compensation Program
Church leaders have announced a new compensation fund that will be available to victims of childhood sexual abuse. The Roman Catholic Church Independent Compensation Program is being created by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and local congregations.
The program will provide free counseling services to victims while they apply for compensation. However, it’s important to note that those who have already settled a sexual abuse claim with the Church will not be eligible for this compensation.
To qualify, victims must have been under 18 years old when they were sexually abused by a priest or deacon affiliated with either the Los Angeles Archdiocese or one of its participating member churches.
If you are a victim who is now over the age of 18 and you were abused before 1988, you can still apply for compensation provided that this claim is being submitted within one year from the signing of 2020’s Assembly Bill 131.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) Settlement Program
Church leadership has announced a new program to settle sexual abuse claims against its congregation’s leaders or members. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sexual Abuse Legal Settlement Program will provide victims with a free and voluntary benefits counseling session as well as legal compensation.
The program is available to minors victims when a church leader or member sexually abused them within the last four years before January 31, 2019.
You are not required to sign a confidentiality agreement when applying for the program. Still, you will be required to cooperate in any criminal investigation or prosecution brought against the perpetrator before you receive compensation. Additionally, all claims must be filed within one year of January 31, 2019.
Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements
Many victims choose not to file a claim for financial compensation because they are afraid their abusers will retaliate if their identity is revealed or do not want their church community to find out about the sexual abuse.
To protect this confidentiality, many churches require victims to sign non-disclosure agreements in exchange for compensation. These are written promises where both parties agree to keep the sexual abuse committed by a priest private.
However, these types of agreements do not change the fact that clergy sexual abuse is a crime and should be reported immediately to law enforcement. In addition, clergy abuse survivors are encouraged to seek advice on protecting themselves from future harm by the perpetrator.
In some cases, a non-disclosure agreement can be nullified if the perpetrator continues to pose a risk to their victim.
Orange Diocese Sexual Assault Attorney
For years, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has provided advocacy and legal assistance for sexual abuse survivors in the Diocese of Orange religious community. With our years of experience, we use California law toprotect our client’s rightsand personal privacy.
Our law firm remains committed to obtaining the maximum monetary compensation that the victim deserves. If you or your loved one is a Catholic clergy abuse survivor, aclergy abuse attorneycan handle all aspects of your case to ensure the legal action you take results in a successful outcome.
With our years of experience, we have successfully resolved litigation involving religious institutions in all California dioceses, including Orange Diocese, Los Angeles Archdiocese, and San Diego Diocese.
Our compassionate attorneys understand that the assault you endured created long-lasting effects that shape your close relationships, friendships, and ability to trust others. So let us begin taking action today to ensure you complete the healing process.
California Assembly Bill Extends the Statute of Limitations
In 2019, the state legislature enacted a new Assembly bill that extends the statute of limitations to allow clergy abuse survivors to file civil lawsuits for compensation. With the new changes in the law, an Orange county clergy abuse lawyer can now file a lawsuit on behalf of their client, who is a victim of sexual misconduct by clergy members in incidents that occurred decades ago.
TheAssembly bill, signed by Governor Newsom, does not provide youth protection from church leaders now and in the future. Instead, it creates a three-year open window to file a civil lawsuit. Now, survivors of clergy abuse of any age can file a civil suit between January 1, 2020, and January 1, 2023, no matter when the assault occurred.
California Independent Compensation Program Helps Victims Heal
As of September 2019, a press conference revealed that an independent oversight committee managed by the Catholic Diocese of Orange County has begun managing a comprehensive program to assistvictim-survivors of sexual abuse of minors.
In addition to the Diocese of Orange, other participating dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Diocese of San Bernardino, Diocese of San Diego, Sacramento Diocese, and Dioceses of Fresno, are accepting registrations for sexual abuse victims that are eligible for compensation.
Any eligible survivor of sexual abuse harmed by clergy members when the victim was a minor can obtain financial support no matter when the assault occurred. The California Independent Compensation Program for Victims-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests (ICP) in Los Angeles continues the California Catholic Conference’s commitment to offering pastoral care to those injured by sexual misconduct by the Church.
The program is run independently from the Church. Resolution administrators, through an independent oversight committee, will handle every case and determine eligibility for participation.
The Warning Signs of Child Sex Abuse
Early warning signs are not always visible that a predator priest is abusing their authority over a child to engage in sexual activities. One of the more difficult things that any parent can discover is that a clergy member sexually harmed their loved one.
Yet, without a quick response, the abuse can continue, and the predator’s actions might lead to more dangerous behavior. Inappropriate touching and non-touching activity that might involve child sex abuse include:
- Rubbing or fondling a child’s private parts or genitals
- Encouraging young people to participate in sexual activity that involves the anus, mouth, vagina, penis, tongue, or fingers
- Showing a child pornographic images
- Taking photographs of young people in sexual poses
- An adult exposing their genitals to young people
- Watching children use the restroom or undress inappropriately
It is a serious felony in California to download sexual images involving children and young people under eighteen years of age. The law indicates that viewing child sex abuse images is an act of molestation.
It is the responsibility of every family member, sibling, parent, neighbor, and friend to take immediate action and stop sexual abuse. First, law enforcement should be contacted to begin an investigation into any allegation involving child sex abuse. Second, the child must be removed from any situation that would involve contact with the alleged child molester and placed in a safe environment. Third, seek out a competent Orange county clergy abuse lawyer to begin the process of holding the Church and the predator legally accountable.
Hire an Orange Clergy Abuse Attorney to Resolve Your Sexual Assault Case
Are you or a loved one the victim of clergy sex abuse? Do you want to seek justice and hold the abuser and religious institution accountable for their actions and cover-up?
The sexual abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are legal advocates for child sex abuse survivors. We are here to listen to your story and take appropriate legal action to stop the abuse against others.
Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free case evaluation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This promise ensures you pay nothing into your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury award.
List of Clergy Abusers in the Diocese of Orange
Anderson, Andrew Christian
In 1986, the California court system convicted Father Andrew Christian Andersen of twenty-six counts of felony sexual molestation involving four underage males. The priest received a five-year probation sentence after undergoing treatment at Servants of Paracletes.
However, the Reverend continued to assault young males while receiving therapy sexually. In 1990, the priest was rearrested in New Mexico and charged with sexually abusing another minor. The Court system sentenced Father Andrew Christian Andersen to 26 years in state prison over a California probation violation.
The Catholic Church defrocked the priest during the 1990s. Before 2005, the Catholic Church settled cases involving Andersen’s sexual misconduct with innocent underage victims for more than $4.6 million.
Current Status: Laicized
Aranda, Sofronio A. (Pon)
In 1984, Father Sofronio A. (Pon) Aranda was named a defendant and other priests in a civil lawsuit filed. An underage girl had been sexually assaulted by seven Filipino priests, including Father Aranda, who all ministered at the Diocese of Orange.
After the lawsuits had been filed in 2003, each Reverend fled the United States back to the Philippines with the support of Church Officials that found the allegations credible. The Church continued to provide support to the underage victim’s child fathered by one of the priests.
Documents show that the priest arrived in the United States in 1975, working in Corona for five years before the Church relocated him in 1992 to Texas at the Galveston-Houston Diocese. In 2005, Aranda’s name appeared as a subject in a diocese $1.55 million lawsuit settlement.
Current Status: Died 1996
In 1993, Brother Gregory Atherton faced accusations of sexually molesting three underage males. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles revealed five accusers in total alleging sexual molestation that occurred between Brother Atherton and them between 1967 and 1986.
There were four additional allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior made to the Diocese of Orange involving Atherton.
However, his name did not appear in the settlement documents in 2005, resolving cases involving abusive religious leaders for over $4.1 million. An article written in 2002 identified Atherton as under close supervision while working at the Portland, Oregon National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother.
Current Status: Named in a lawsuit 1993
Baird, Lawrence J.
For years, Father Lawrence J. Baird served as the Diocese of Orange spokesman. In 2002, the Reverend was accused of sexually assaulting an underage female who sought out his advice after reporting Father John Lenihan sexually molested that. In response to the lawsuit that year, the priest countersued, but the case was dismissed.
The court ordered that Reverend Baird pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees. A second female stepped forward, allegations that Reverend Baird had sexually assaulted her when she was a minor. As of the Diocese website, the priest remains active in the Ministry.
Current Status: Accused
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles identified three accusers alleging that Father Franklin Buckman had sexually assaulted him between 1962 and 1981. One victim filed a civil lawsuit.
In 1984, Reverend Buckman stated he resigned from his Diocese of Orange Parish due to the “burden of administration.” However, it was later revealed that his resignation correlated with the allegations of abuse.
Church officials then relocated Buckman to the Diocese of Baker in Oregon. One of the California victim’s mothers complained that Father Buckman had sexually assaulted her son in 1989. The Church removed Buckman from Ministry and allowed him to retire in Arizona in 2002.
In 2005, Church officials for the Diocese of Orange reached a negotiated settlement of nearly $2 million with plaintiffs. After the priest’s retirement, Buckman was living a “Life of Prayer and Penance.”
Current Status: Retired 2002
After his ordination in the Diocese of Gallup, NM, Father Santino Casimano was incardinated (reassigned from one Diocese to another) to the Diocese of Orange in 1976. Between 1980 and 2000, Reverend Santino Casamino served as a Navy Chaplain.
In 2004, two brothers accused Casimano of sexual misconduct while at the Orange Diocese years earlier. When the allegations were made in 2004, the priest was serving as the Uncasville, Connecticut St. Bernard High School principal.
In 2005, the Diocese of Orange reached a negotiated settlement with the victims for $4.2 million. Reverend Casimano’s name appears on the 2019 Norwich Diocese’s list and the 2018 Gallup Diocese’s list.
Current Status: Died 2005
Coffield, John V.
An adult male came forward making accusations that Father John V. Coffield had sexually assaulted him when he was a child between 1960 and 1962 at the Los Angeles Dolores Mission. In December 2003, Reverend Coffield’s name appeared in a filed civil lawsuit.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles identified one accuser associated with the Reverend and reported that the priest had sexually molested the victim in the Diocese of Orange.
However, his name does not appear on the list of abusers from the Orange Diocese. In addition, a second lawsuit involving another accuser was filed in civil court.
Current Status: Died 2005
In 2004, reports indicate that Church officials placed Father Richard Delahunty on leave during an investigation involving accusations that the priest sexually assaulted an underage male in 1981.
The Reverend denied the claim, and the victim filed a civil lawsuit. The sexual abuse survivor stated that he notified a Diocesan administrator when the molestation occurred. The 2003 OrangeDiocese list reveals Father Delahunty’s name and five other religious leaders accused of sexually inappropriate behavior with underage children.
The Diocese of Orange settled with the plaintiff in 2005. The previous year, the Diocese Review Board found “no credible evidence” against Delahunty and allowed him to return to Ministry.
Current Status: Named in a lawsuit settlement
Falvey, Sinon F.
Between 1976 and 1989, Father Sinon F. Falvey served as the Orange, CA Saint Norbert Church pastor and supervised John Lenihan and John Kenney, known sexual abusers.
By June 2009, a civil lawsuit filed by a plaintiff identified Reverend Sinon Falvey as a sexual abuser with accusations that he molested an altar boy between 1990 and 1992, in the years after he retired from the Ministry.
Additionally, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) reported that other victims stepped forward, alleging that the priest sexually assaulted them.
Current Status: Named in a lawsuit
A 2002 report indicates that in 1985, the Orange Diocese Chancellor Reverend Driscoll, who would later become the Boise Diocese Bishop, attempted to reassign Father Robert Foley from his Southern California diocese to Liverpool, England.
The desire to reassign the priest came just after Foley had admitted sexually assaulting an eight-year-old male while on a Saint Justin Martyr Parish-organized camping trip. The victim’s mother threatened the Church that she would report the incident to the police.
To avoid harassment and possible imprisonment, Reverend Foley moved to England and was never prosecuted for the incident. Instead, the Catholic Church settled a lawsuit involving the victim while the Reverend remained on “voluntary permanent leave.”
Current Status: Currently living a life of prayer and penance
Harris, Michael A.
In 1994, Church officials removed Father Michael A. Harris from the Ministry after a deceased victim’s mother alleged that the priest had sexually assaulted her son, who had died of AIDS. In 1994, another Santa Ana Mater Dei High School male student accused Reverend Harris of inappropriate sexual behavior. His civil lawsuit filed in 1994 was later dropped.
The Diocese of Orange settled a case with another accuser in 2001 for a negotiated $5.2 million. Church officials laicized (defrocked) Father Harris in November 2001. By 2003, other victims also filed civil lawsuits. During Father Harris’ career, he was assigned to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Orange Diocese.
In June 2012, the Orange Diocese settled a civil lawsuit for $2 million just before the case went to trial. However, by December 2019, another civil lawsuit was filed on allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior by Reverend Harris.
Current Status: Laicized 2001
Horvath, Bertrand W.
In 2002, a filed civil lawsuit revealed accusations that Father Bertrand W. Horvath had sexually assaulted a Mission Viejo altar boy during the early 1970s before forming the Diocese of Orange.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles was a lawsuit filed by the Reverend’s Order forcing the Archdiocese to resolve the case. In 1974, Father Horvath left the LA Archdiocese and was reassigned to other dioceses, including the Diocese of Amarillo. In 2001, Church officials placed Reverend Father Bertrand W. Horvath on leave due to the allegations.
It was then that the Orange Diocese notified the Amarillo Diocese of the allegations of abuse involving the priest. In 2019, Reverend Father Bertrand W. Horvath remained on the Diocese of Las Vegas list.
Current Status: Deceased
Peru-native Father Edgardo Arrunataegui Jimenez ministered in Honduras before he was incardinated (transferred to another diocese) to the Diocese of Orange in 1987. Reverend Jimenez left the area to do missionary work during the 1990s in Peru.
In January 2004, he was first publicly identified with credible evidence of sexually molesting innocent victims “years ago.” Even though the Diocese dealt with the accusation, Church officials failed to inform local law enforcement until 2004. In 2009, the priest was ministering to parishioners in Madrid while still being named on the Peruvian Chimbote Diocese list.
In 2017, a news team found Father Edgardo Jimenez working for the Chimbote Diocese as a hospital chaplain. Since leaving the Diocese of Orange, the Reverend has used different names, including Edgardo Arrunategui, Horacio Jimenez, and others.
Current Status: Accused of inappropriate sexual behavior
In 1976, Father John Knoernschild was assigned to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles before the Diocese of Orange was established. The Reverend left the Archdiocese in 1996 and returned two years later before leaving again in 2001.
A former Crespi Carmelite High School student accused Father Knoernschild of sexually assaulting him between 1977 and 1978. In 2006, at least one claim filed against the priest was resolved by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Reverend’s Order for $10 million.
Current Status: Died 2010
Lenihan, John Peter
In 1991, Irish-native Father John Peter Lenihan admitted to church officials that he had sexually molested an underage girl during the 1970s. The Diocese of Orange settled a lawsuit with the victim for $25,000 but allowed the Reverend to continue active Ministry.
In September 2001, the Church removed the priest from Ministry after Lenihan told a Los Angeles Times columnist that he had sexual relationships with several individuals in the past. In 2001, Reverend Lenihan was named in a second lawsuit alleging he had sexually abused another teenage girl beginning in the late 1970s.
The Diocese of Orange settled that lawsuit for $1.2 million. In 2003, the justice system dropped criminal charges due to the then-recent ruling by the US Supreme Court invalidating the California statute of limitations law.
Current Status: Laicized/Defrocked 2002
Lord, John “Jack”
In 2003, the Diocese of Orange released credible evidence alleging that Father John “Jack” Lord, and five other priests, sexually assaulted underage children. In February 1989, when Reverend Lord was forty-six years old, he died from complications of AIDS. The Diocese assigned Father Lord to the Saint Columban Parish in the years before his death.
In December 2003, a plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit against Reverend Lord and the Diocese. In 2005, the Catholic Church reached a settlement agreement for over $3.7 million.
Current Status: Died 1989
In June 2009, an alleged victim filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Orange and Father Alexander Manville, accusing the priest and Reverend Gus Krumm of sexually assaulting him when he was eight years old.
During the alleged sexual assault between 1992 and 1993, the religious leaders worked at Saints Simon and Jude Catholic Church. In addition, Reverend Manville served as a Bishop Diego High School faculty member. By 2009, he was listed as a “nonpracticing priest” while living in a Catholic Church retreat house.
In January 2011, the victim’s brother joined in a civil lawsuit and made separate allegations that Manville and Krumm had sexually assaulted him between 1990 and 1994. The Orange Diocese settled the case in August 2011.
Current Status: Likely living in a retreat house
Mohan, Thomas Joseph
In October 2018, a civil lawsuit filed by a male victim accused Monsignor Thomas Joseph Mohan of sexually assaulting him during his childhood years that lasted over two years.
The victim says that the sexual assault started in 1978 when he was ten years old, and Monsignor Mohan was serving parishioners at his Parish. Monsignor Mohan had served in the priesthood at the Archdiocese of Chicago during the early 1970s before transferring to the Anaheim, CA Saint Anthony’s Parish, where he allegedly abused the victim.
In addition, the plaintiff said that he had heard there was another victim sexually assaulted by Thomas Mohan.
The Archdiocese of Chicago Church officials received the second complaint involving allegations that Mohan had sexually assaulted others in California. The lawsuit names all California Bishops and the Bishop of the Chicago Archdiocese as defendants in the case.
A December 2018 Archdiocese of Los Angeles list noted that the Catholic Church received a report in 2018 of incidents involving Mohan’s inappropriate sexual activity between 1974 and 1975 and 1978 through 1980.
Current Status: Died 2002
In 2002, Father Dominic Nguyen was excardinated (transferred to another diocese) from the Diocese of Orange to Idaho after Church officials became aware he was in a relationship with a woman.
In 2003, Church officials reassigned Reverend Nguyen to the Diocese of Orange after a repairman found child pornography on the priest’s Idaho Church computer. The Church placed the Reverend on leave immediately. Authorities in Idaho later determined there was no credible evidence to press criminal charges.
In August 2016, the Diocese of Orange Website showed that Father Dominic Nguyen was on “voluntary permanent leave.” As of April 2019, Nguyen requested to be defrocked (laicized).
Current Status: On a voluntary permanent leave
Pillon, Gordon John
In May 2006, the Diocese of Peoria placed Father Gordon John Pillon on leave of absence after learning of allegations involving sexual assault. The sexual abuse incidents involving Reverend Pillon reportedly occurred in the early 1980s while the priest was assigned to the Diocese of Orange.
In the 1990s, Pillon was incardinated (assigned to a diocese) to the Diocese of Peoria. Church officials then assigned Pillon to the Charlotte Diocese (North Carolina) between 1996 and 1999.
In April 2009, a former priest filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Father Pillon had sexually assaulted him during his teenage years while he lived in California. The lawsuit document stated that the Church forced him out of the priesthood after telling Diocese of Peoria officials about the abuse.
In 2006. Reverend Pillon faced additional accusations of sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Peoria. In 2009, Pillon was reportedly teaching at the University of Northern Virginia in Prague. The Reverend’s name appears on the 2019 Charlotte Diocese list and the 2018 Peoria Diocese list.
Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct
In June 2019, Father Edward Poettgen’s name appeared in a filed civil lawsuit. The document accuses Reverend Poettgen of sexually abusing a six-year-old boy in 1994 when the priest was working at the Stanton, CA Saint Polycarp Parish. At the time of the alleged incident, the underage male was a parish school student.
Five months earlier, in January 2019, another individual accused Poettgen of sexual molestation. However, Church officials never informed the parishioners. The Diocese of Orange said that the Church placed Poettgen on administrative leave before January 2020.
However, the victim’s attorney in the lawsuit stated that by late January 2020, the Reverend had told the plaintiff’s lawyers that he was still working in active Ministry at the Anaheim, CA Saint Boniface Parish pastor.
Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit
In October 2010, a Diocese of Orange church bulletin revealed accusations made by an alleged victim that Father Timothy Ramaekers is a sexual molester. The victim states that Reverend Ramaekers had sexually assaulted him in 1986 while the priest was the Saint Justin Martyr Church parochial vicar.
From 1997, the Reverend had been assigned as the Placentia, CA St. Joseph Parish pastor. After the allegations arose, the Diocese of Orange never placed Father Ramaekers on administrative leave.
The Diocese Review Board found no supporting evidence to validate the allegation. In 2009, the same victim filed a civil lawsuit alleging three former priests and a lay employee had sexually assaulted him. In May 2012, Church officials reassigned Father Timothy Ramaekers to a new parish. The priest has denied all allegations.
Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit
Ramirez, Luis Eduardo
In January 2008, local law enforcement arrested Father Luis Eduardo Ramirez after taking a minor male child to a motel room to provide “counseling.” The Reverend’s Order bailed the priest out of jail. In June of the same year, he pled guilty to misdemeanor burglary and battery. Other charges were dismissed. Reverend Ramirez admitted he had inappropriately touched the teenage boy.
In August 2008, Father Ramirez received a six-month jail sentence followed by three years of probation and was released from incarceration in March 2009. However, church officials removed Reverend Ramirez’s privileges.
Current Status: Arrested on misdemeanor battery and burglary
Ruhl, John (Jon) E.
In 1983, Father John (Jon) E. Ruhl was incardinated (assigned to a diocese) into the Diocese of Orange. In 1992, Church officials knew of one allegation involving Reverend Ruhl molesting three underage children between 1970 and 1982.
Ruhl was named as a predatory priest in an LA Archdiocese report. In addition, his name was found on the Diocese of Orange list of sexual assaulters and a civil lawsuit (2018). In 2005, one case involving Ruhl was settled with the victim.
In September 2013, Church officials released his personnel file. Documents show that Reverend Ruhl also worked in Perryville and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and is listed on the April 2019 Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese’s list. In addition, the Diocese of Orange website in 2016 noted that Father Ruhl was living “a life of prayer and penance.”
Current Status: Deceased
An article published in 2003 revealed that Church officials placed Deacon Cesar Salazar on leave during an investigation conducted by the Diocese of Orange. Church officials accused Deacon Salazar of downloading child porn.
In 2001, the first charges against the Deacon arose. Local law enforcement found over 100 images of child pornography but never filed charges due to a lack of evidence. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also looked into the case but took no further action. Finally, however, the Diocese of Orange sent Salazar to receive counseling.
Current Status: Laicized/Defrocked
Sheahan, John A.
An Archdiocese of Los Angeles report revealed that at least one individual accused Father John A. Sheahan of sexual molestation between 1961 and 1965. Additionally, in December 2003, a civil lawsuit filed by an accuser alleges that Reverend Sheahan had sexually molested three victims.
A civil lawsuit identified Father John A. Sheahan spelled Sheehan. In the early 1970s, the Reverend went into medical retirement after undergoing brain surgery.
Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit
Tanilong, Gerardo Jarencio
Reports indicate that law enforcement arrested Father Gerardo Jarencio Tanilong after receiving a formal complaint that the Reverend had sexually assaulted a fifteen-year-old girl a week earlier. At the time, the Diocese of Orange Church officials placed Reverend Tanilong on leave after he had worked for the Diocese for seventeen years.
In 1986, Tanilong had arrived from the Philippines and was incardinated (assigned to a diocese) the Diocese of Orange four years later in 1990. In January 2004, the priest pled guilty to charges.
Three months later, he received a six-month jail sentence followed by three years of probation. At that time, the Orange Diocese suspended Tanilong’s privileges. In February 2012, his name appeared on the California Sex Offender Registry after his violation in October 2009 of not registering as required by court order.
Current Status: Died before August 2016