Stockton Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Many in the Catholic congregation experience the loving embrace of the teachings of the Church and accept the sacraments to celebrate the Holy Eucharist. Parishioners look to cardinals, bishops, pastors, parish priests, and other religious leaders to hear their confessions and guide them to a holier life. Sadly, many clergy leaders use their power of authority to sexually assault, molest, sodomize, and rape innocent children and vulnerable adults under their care.
In 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops created the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People to deal with the problems of credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors by clergy members. The Bishops developed the Charter to study problems involving minors who have been harmed by priests from 1950 until 2002.
Many of the priests (68%) who had been accused of sexually molesting victims were ordained into the Roman Catholic Church from 1950 until 1979. Most of those had sexually assaulted one victim. Approximately one-quarter of the group was alleged to have sexually molested two or three innocent souls, and the remaining fourteen percent faced allegations of abusing up to nine victims. About one-third of the group suffered from other psychological and behavioral problems.
Stockton Diocese Sexual Assault Attorney
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC provides advocacy legal assistance for victims of sexual assault in the Stockton religious community. With our years of experience, we use the law to protect our client’s rights and personal privacy. Our law firm remains committed to obtaining the maximum financial compensation our clients deserve. If you or your loved one is a Catholic clergy abuse victim, we can handle every aspect of your case to ensure the legal action you take has a successful outcome.
With our years of experience, we have successfully resolved sexual abuse cases involving religious institutions. Our law firm understands that the assault you endured creates long-lasting effects that shaped your close relationships, friendships, and your ability to trust others. Let us help you successfully resolve your Diocese of Stockton case.
List of Clergy Abusers in the Stockton Diocese
In 1998, Father Francis Arakal relocated to the United States from India. Four years later, in April 2002, Church Officials placed the resident on leave before reinstating him three months later. By September 2002, a female victim filed a civil lawsuit claiming that the Reverend had touched the breasts of her thirteen-year-old daughter inappropriately in 2001. Father Arakal was also accused of touching the genital area and breasts of the woman’s younger daughter. One of the female victims told another Father what Arakal had allegedly done before being confronted by both men. Even though trial jurors cleared the Reverend of charges involving sexual battery, they awarded $20,000 to the family because of the way that both reverends responded to the underage girl. Records indicate that as of 2009, Arakal ministered at Tracy, CA St. Bernard Parish as the parochial vicar.
Current Status: Still active in ministry
Father Antonio Camacho served the ministry in both the Oakland and Stockton dioceses after arriving from Mexico as an extern priest. Accusations were made against Reverend Camacho that he had sexually molested two Modesto Saint Stanislaus high school boys between January 1982 and February 1984. Camacho briefly served ministry between December 1981 and January 1982 at the Hughson Saint Anthony Parish. At that time, Church officials removed the Reverend from active ministry. Afterward, he returned to Mexico on Bishop Mahoney’s (Diocese of Stockton) request. In 2004, cardinal Mahoney’s deposition named Reverend Camacho, as did the Diocese of Stockton Bishop’s memo sent to the police. The Reverend’s name is also included in the 2014 Stockton Diocese’s bankruptcy court filings as an abuser.
Current Status: Accused
Around 1964, Church Officials assigned Brother Didacus Clavell to St. Mary’s High School in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton. Church notes indicate that officials at the diocese were “unable to corroborate allegations” of sexual misconduct. However, in the 2014 Diocese of Stockton’s bankruptcy court filings, Brother Clavell’s name appears on a list of claimed sexual abusers. As late as 2013, documents show that he remained active in the church.
Current Status: Accused
Fahy, Murty M.
Between August 1985 and March 2001, Father Murty M. Fahy served as the Lodi, CA, Saint Anne’s Associate Pastor and taught at Saint Mary High School between 1970 and 1985. In 2006, Reverend Fahy faced allegations that he had sexually assaulted an underage girl during the mid-1990s while teaching at the Parish’s Elementary school. As of January 2007, the Catholic Diocese of Stockton was still investigating the case. The previous year (2006), a victim filed a civil lawsuit. The female plaintiff alleged Father Murty Fahy had sexually assaulted her when she was between five and eleven years of age. By 2007, the plaintiff dismissed her lawsuit. The Stockton Diocese’s 2014 lists included Reverend Fahy with credible evidence substantiating he was a sexual abuser.
Current Status: Died 2001
Guarin-Sosa, Julio Cesar
Father Julio Cesar Guarin-Sosa’s Bishop in Columbia, South America, okayed the priest’s visit to the United States and his assignment at the Lodi, CA Saint Catherine Church. The Reverend arrived in the United States to take his brother’s place as the parish priest while his brother went on vacation. In March 2013, law enforcement arrested Reverend Guarin-Sosa and charged him with molesting an underage girl involving kissing, sexual battery, and illegal entry. Documents indicate that he was performing a private mass for the sixteen-year-old victim’s family. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton’s Bishop removed Reverend Guarin-Sosa from ministry without privileges. In March 2013, the jail released the priest on bail. Three months later, the District Attorney’s Office dropped the felony charges, and the jury found the Reverend not guilty on misdemeanor charges at the end of 2013.
Current Status: Found not guilty
In 2007, Church officials removed Ireland-native Father Michael Kelly from active ministry after an allegation arose that he had sexually assaulted an underage minor in 1984. The Reverend denied the accusations and reportedly passed a lie detector (polygraph) test. In March 2008, the Church reinstated the priest after the alleged victim refused to cooperate. However, by the end of the month, the victim had filed a civil lawsuit. In 2011, two new allegations arose involving the sexual assault of other underage minors occurring between 2000 and 2002. Even so, the Church allowed the Reverend to remain active in ministry. In April 2012, a civil jury found Reverend Michael Kelly liable for sexual molestation. At that time, the Church finally removed the Reverend’s privileges, and the trial resumed. In April 2012, Reverend Kelly fled to Ireland to avoid arrest after the court issued a warrant. The local District Attorney’s Office sought to extradite Kelly to the United States. In 2016, the charges were dropped after the twenty-six-year-old accuser died. In April 2012, the Archdiocese settled one lawsuit involving Kelly for $3.75 million. Additional lawsuits were filed in September and November 2012. Father Kelly denied both accusations. In January 2014, new indictments arose when Father Kelly’s name was found on the 2019 Stockton Diocese’s list of abusers released in bankruptcy court. As of January 2019, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of California still wanted to arrest Father Kelly for unlawful flight. There are some indicators that Moroccan federal authorities arrested the Reverend.
Current Status: Possibly arrested after fleeing the United States
In 2001, Stockton, CA law enforcement received a report that Father Editho Mascardo had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor. However, there were no charges filed. In July 2015, the allegations resurfaced. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton investigated the accusations and placed Reverend Mascardo on leave. The following May, the Diocese Review Board told the Bishop that it could not determine if the sexual abuse between the priest and underage minor happened. In 2016, Church officials reassigned the priest to a hospital chaplain ministry in Modesto. Throughout Father Editho Mascardo’s career, he was assigned to the Stockton, CA St. George Parish (1996 – 1999) St. Mary of the Assumption Parish (1999 – 2006), Hughson, CA Saint Anthony’s Parish (2006 – 2011), and Sonora St. Patrick’s Parish. Father Editho Mascardo resided at the Modesto, CA Holy Family Parish, until Church officials removed him from ministry in July 2015.
Current Status: Removed from ministry and reinstated 2015
A deposition taken in 2004 involving Cardinal Mahoney revealed that he removed a visiting Mexico-native priest, Father Antonio Munoz after he met the parents of an alleged victim. The deposition revealed an allegation that Reverend Munoz had sexually molested several high school students during a trip to Tijuana in 1981. When the Cardinal provided testimony during the Reverend O’Grady trial in 1998, he testified that O’Grady was the only accused religious leader involved, and did not mention Father Antonio Munoz.
Current Status: Accused of sexual conduct with a minor
O’Grady, Oliver Francis
In 1993, the California justice system arrested and convicted Irish-native Father Oliver Francis O’Grady, who had worked in California for many years. The Court system imposed a fourteen-year prison sentence after Reverend Oliver O’Grady admitted he had sexually molested twenty-five girls and boys. The priest served seven years of his sentence before being the federal authorities deported him to Ireland in 2000. The Roman Catholic Dioceses of Stockton agreed to a $7 million settlement to resolve this case and others. In 2006, a lawsuit was filed in Ireland that was settled by the Irish Archdiocese that year for $3 million. In December 2007, a new suit was filed by another alleged victim. A 2010 published article revealed that O’Grady worked in the Netherlands before returning to Ireland. In October 2010, the Diocese resolved two civil lawsuits for $2 million involving O’Grady. In December 2010, law enforcement in Ireland arrested O’Grady for possession of child pornography. He received a three-year jail sentence in January 2012. By May 2012, a new civil lawsuit was filed. The following month, the court system dismissed four lawsuits against O’Grady because the statute of limitations had expired. In April 2014, the Ireland jail system released O’Grady from incarceration, where he began living unsupervised. The 2014 Stockton Diocese’s list of claimed sexual molesters that included the name of Father Oliver O’Grady. In October 2019, the priest was arrested in Portugal on a warrant by Irish authorities for possession of child pornography.
Current Status: Arrested in Portugal 2019
Pelaez, Oscar (Oskar)
In early 2002, law enforcement arrested Columbia-native extern priest Father Oscar (Oskar) Pelaez on charges that he sexually assaulted an underage male for three years. Reverend Pelaez had been assigned to the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Stockton since he was ordained in the early 1990s. Pelaez pled guilty to the charges and received a six-year prison sentence. However, after serving three years, he was released on parole. The Stockton Diocese reached a $1 million settlement with the victim after Pelaez was convicted. As a part of the Diocese’s bankruptcy court filing, released 2014 documents revealed Father Pelaez’s name along with other predator priests with credible evidence of sexually molesting victims.
Current Status: Sentenced to prison
Torrez, Eduardo De Jesus Perez
Columbia-native was excardinated (transferred to another diocese) from the Palmira Diocese in Columbia to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton, where he worked between 1999 and 2014. News reports dated February 2018 indicate the law enforcement in Modesto California received a report revealing that Reverend Eduardo De Jesus Preez Torrez had sexually assaulted an underage female in 1999. When the alleged sexual molestation occurred, Church officials had assigned Perez to the Modesto, CA Saint Stanislaus Parish (December 1999 – April 2004). During his career in the United States, Torrez has been assigned to parishes in Riverbank, Stockton, and Oakdale.
Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct
Rodriguez, Antonio Munoz
The 2014 Stockton Diocese’s bankruptcy court filing publicly identified Father Antonio Munoz Rodriguez as a sexual assaulter. Church officials assigned Reverend Rodriguez to the Stockton, CA St. George’s Parish between December 1977 and May 1979. He was then assigned to the Hughson, CA Saint Anthony’s Parish until September 1981.
Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct
In January 2010, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton announced that Mexican-native Father Leo Suarez had previously been removed from active ministry the year before. At that time, Reverend Suarez had admitted he sexually molested an underage female while he served as a Hughson, CA St Anthony Parish associate pastor. After Church officials removed him from ministry, they sent Suarez to receive treatment. The Stockton Diocese announced that this was the only allegation charged against Suarez and notified law enforcement in September 2009. However, the District Attorney’s Office did not press criminal charges or investigate the allegation because the California statute of limitations had expired. In September 2010, one victim settled of civil lawsuit against Suarez for $300,000. The May 2014 Diocese of Stockton bankruptcy court filing identified Father Suarez on its list of known sexual abusers. Father Suarez had left the diocese in 1991.
Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct
Villalobos, Ferdinand (Fernando)
In February 2003, a filed RICO civil lawsuit alleges that Father Ferdinand (Fernando) Villalobos sexually assaulted an underage male between 1980 and 1983 when the victim was 12 to 15 years old. At the time of the alleged abuse, Reverend Villalobos was assigned at the Stockton, CA St. Mary’s Parish. During that time, Bishop Mahoney and other officials at the Diocese covered up allegations of sexual misconduct involving several priests, including Villalobos. Before his death in December 1985, Father Villalobos was accused of attempting to sexually molest his victim’s brother. Documents released by the Stockton Diocese in May 2014 as a part of bankruptcy court filings revealed a list of sexual abusers that included Father Fernando Villalobos. In December 2019, a civil lawsuit accused Villalobos of sexually assaulting a sixteen-year-old boy in 1979. The May 2019 Santa Barbara Province Franciscans’ list identified allegations received by the Order involving Villalobos in 2004, 2014, and 2018 of sexual abuse incidents that occurred between 1979 and 1983.
Current Status: Named in a civil lawsuit
Pope Francis Finally Takes Measures to Stop the Abuse
It took until the summer of 2019 for Pope Francis to stop hiding evidence involving Church leaders hiding evidence of sexual abuse. Before then, the Roman Catholic Church never implemented any global policies requiring each diocese to investigate any allegation of sexual molestation among the staff. Up until the Pope announced his changes, the Vatican never created any formal measures to hold Bishops and Archbishops responsible for the clergy with credible allegations of sexual misconduct or the coverups that followed.
For decades, predator priests victimized thousands of innocent children and vulnerable adults around the world. In nearly every case, Church officials failed to report serial abusers with credible allegations of assault. Even the most horrific incidents where one priest sexually abuses hundreds became high-profile cases years after when the sexual abuse epidemic was exposed.
As a result of the coverup, many congregations remain cynical about their global leaders’ direction of resolving this horrible problem. Some Diocese of Stockton parishioners have chosen to abandon the religion entirely.
The Stockton Diocesan Review Board identified numerous priests with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in all areas of the diocese, including in Stockton, San Andreas, Turlock, and Modesto. Priests from Lady of Fatima Parish and St. Mary’s Church were named in civil lawsuits on allegations of child sex molestation. One case involving Reverend Oliver O’Grady molesting over two dozen children was covered up by Cardinal Mahony in incidents starting in 1973. O’Grady raped some of his victims.
The Signs and Symptoms of Sexual Assault
Child sex abuse is defined as mistreatment or intentional harm of anyone seventeen years and younger. Sexual assault can occur in numerous forms that happen one time or repeatedly. Typically, children who have experienced previous abuse are more vulnerable to repeated injury through sexual assault.
Also, disabled young people are 300% more likely to be sexual abuse survivors, especially if they have challenges with language or speech. Sexual assault can also occur online on websites, in chat rooms, or across all social media. Many times, the predator will use the Internet to groom their potential victim.
The common signs and symptoms associated with sexual molestation could involve:
- The predator priest can physically injure the child, leaving their victim with bruises, vaginal or anal bleeding, or sexually transmitted disease.
- The victim can show signs of depression, anxiety, experience sleep disturbances, develop eating habits changes, display anger or aggressiveness, and show fear of being alone with specific individuals.
- The sexual assault survivor might regress to thumb-sucking or bedwetting
- The victim may display signs of low self-esteem or avoidance of any relationship
- Survivors often withdraw from society or rebel against authority
The indirect signs of physical, sexual assault might involve headaches, chronic stomach pain, wetting accidents involving uncontrollable urination, or recurrent/persistent pain during bowel movements.
Victims Often Never Speak up
Most sexually abused children remain silent about the assault because of a sense of guilt, believing the problem is their fault. Sometimes, the abuser convinces their victim that what happened is a typical “shared secret.” Sometimes, the predator will bribe the child or threaten/harass them, causing a sense of fear of retaliation.
Some sexual molestation survivors care for their sex offender and will go to great lengths to ensure that what they say will not get the abuser into trouble.
If you know of a young person who has been sexually assaulted, it is essential to take immediate action. First, law enforcement should be notified to ensure that sexual molestation stops, and an investigation is started to gather evidence. Second, the young victim must be removed from the situation to ensure that repeated attacks do not occur. Often, a child molester will abuse their victim in school settings, at the parish rectory, in Church, during confession, at daycare, at a diocese-related camp, or sporting events.
Diocese of Stockton Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys Can Help
Sexual abuse among priests in the Roman Catholic Church continues to be a severe problem in the United States. While new incidents of credible allegations of sexual misconduct still occur, many sexual abuse survivors are taking a stand, facing their abuser, and filing lawsuits to hold them financially accountable in a civil trial.
If a Catholic Diocese of Stockton religious leader harmed you through sexual assault, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation. We will listen to your horrific story and provide legal advice on how to proceed.
Our law firm provides new opportunities for our clients to file a claim against the Church even if the California statute of limitations has expired since the abuse occurred. Our legal team handles cases involving a northern California predator priest whose current status is in “active ministry,” has been removed from the priesthood, was placed on administrative leave, already retired, or has died.