As of February 29, 2020, the California ICP is no longer accepting new registrants. Survivors who have already registered can file claims until March 31, 2020.
Clergy Abuse in California
The Catholic Dioceses in California named more than 500 priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse. Lawmakers recently passed a law aimed at helping child abuse victims seek justice for these crimes.
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California Sexual Assault Legislation
The United States has recently become aware of widespread sexual abuse in national organizations like the Catholic Church. As a result, California and several other states have passed new sexual assault and sexual abuse laws. These legislative updates provide sexual abuse victims with more opportunities to seek justice.
California legislators passed an important new law in late 2019. Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218) extends the period in which childhood sexual assault victims can file civil lawsuits. The bill, also known as the California Child Victims Act, includes several other important provisions:
- AB 218 extends the legal deadline for childhood sexual assault survivors. They now have until the age of 40 to file a lawsuit. Survivors may also file a lawsuit up to five years after the discovery of psychological injury due to the abuse.
- It allows adults who have recently discovered their abuse five years to file a lawsuit.
- It establishes a three-year “look back” window in which survivors can file claims falling outside the new time limit. The window opens January 1, 2020, and closes December 31, 2022.
- It allows courts to award triple damages in sexual abuse cases where evidence of a cover-up exists.
California Priest Abuse Lawsuits
Survivors of childhood sexual assault can seek legal remedies in two ways. They can file criminal charges and/or a civil lawsuit.
In the case of criminal charges, the defendant (abuser) faces probation or jail time if found guilty. The plaintiff (victim) does not receive money unless the court orders the abuser to pay restitution.
In a civil lawsuit, the defendant is not put on probation or sent to jail if found guilty. Instead, the defendant must pay the victim for damages caused by the abuse. The jury determines the appropriate amount of financial compensation.
Note: a survivor can choose to press criminal charges and file a civil lawsuit.
Whether pressing criminal charges or filing a civil lawsuit, the survivor must begin legal proceedings within a set period of time. This time period is called the statute of limitations (SOL).
Survivors often take many years to process the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. As a result, legal deadlines prevented many California abuse survivors from pursuing legal remedies. With the passage of AB 218 in 2019, childhood sexual assault survivors now have more time to file civil lawsuits in California. The accordion below summarizes California legal deadlines relevant to survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
California Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations
- Most felony-level offenses have no statute of limitations.
- For sex crimes, charges must be filed within one year of suspect identification via DNA evidence.
- Learn more about SOLs for specific felony-level offenses here.
- If the assault happened on or after the victim’s 18th birthday, the victim has until the later of:
- 10 years from the date of the last assault
- Three years from the date the victim becomes aware of the psychological injury from the assault
- 10 years from the date of the last assault
- If the victim was a minor at the time of the assault, they have until the later of:
- The victim’s 40th birthday
- Five years from the date the victim becomes aware of the psychological injury from the assault
- The victim’s 40th birthday
Understanding The California Child Victim’s Act “Look-Back” Window
AB 218’s extension of the legal deadlines for childhood sexual abuse gave survivors until their 40th birthday to file a civil lawsuit. But, without special provisions, this new legal deadline would still prevent survivors older than 40 years of age from filing civil lawsuits. State lawmakers created the “look back” window provision of AB 218 to address this issue.
AB 218 opens a window from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2022. Any child sex abuse survivor can file a lawsuit during this period, even if the new statute of limitations has already passed.
California Diocese Settlements and Compensation Programs
Since 2005, California dioceses have paid more than $1 billion in settlements due to clergy abuse. These settlements came as a result of civil lawsuits. Additionally, six California dioceses created an option for victims to get compensation without filing a lawsuit. The six dioceses created an Independent Compensation Program (ICP).
Six dioceses created the California ICP in 2019. Some critics call the ICP a “very calculated and very shrewd” move on behalf of church officials. They also claim the ICP allows dioceses to avoid public scrutiny and cut the cost of reparations for clergy abuse.
Still, the ICP provides an attractive option for some clergy abuse survivors.
The California Independent Compensation Program at a Glance
- Archdiocese of Los Angeles
- Diocese of Fresno
- Diocese of Orange
- Diocese of Sacramento
- Diocese of San Bernardino
- Diocese of San Diego
Survivors of clergy abuse within the participating dioceses are eligible for the ICP. Eligible claimants must not have previously settled clergy abuse lawsuits against the participating dioceses.
Start Date: September 16, 2019
Registration Deadline: February 29, 2020
Claims Filing Deadline: March 31, 2020
For some victims, the ICP offers several important benefits:
- An independent law firm handles all ICP claims. The dioceses cannot reject or modify any claims settled through the ICP.
- Clergy abuse survivors can avoid the public display of a lawsuit. The ICP allows claimants to remain completely anonymous throughout the process.
- Claims made through the ICP may be held to a lower standard of proof versus claims in a lawsuit.
- The ICP usually pays claims within 120 days of approval.
Critics of the program observe several drawbacks:
- ICP participants waive their right to future clergy abuse lawsuits against participating dioceses.
- ICP settlements offer substantially lower compensation versus the average lawsuit settlement.
ICP settlements allow the Catholic Church to avoid the scrutiny and transparency of a lawsuit.
- Any victim of abuse by “a member of a religious order, clergy of another diocese or lay person” is not eligible to participate. These victims can still file a lawsuit anytime before their 40th birthday. Victims older than 40 can file a lawsuit anytime before December 31, 2022.
California Catholic Diocese Clergy Abuse Bankruptcies
More than 20 Catholic dioceses nationwide have declared bankruptcy in the wake of clergy abuse lawsuits. Two California dioceses are among those that declared bankruptcy.
The Diocese of San Diego declared bankruptcy in February 2007. It was one of the earliest American dioceses to choose this option. The diocese agreed to pay $198 million to 144 victims as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.
The Diocese of Stockton filed for bankruptcy in September 2014. It agreed to pay $15 million to clergy abuse victims as part of the bankruptcy plan.
If you are considering legal action against a bankrupt diocese, you should speak with our lawyers. We can help you determine the best course of action during bankruptcy proceedings.
List of Priests Accused of Abuse in California
This list includes only clergy members and priests in California dioceses facing documented abuse allegations. The list does not include church staff, volunteers, members of religious orders or priests accused in other states. If you believe a specific abusive priest acted in a different state, use our searchable, nationwide database of accused priests.
If you do not see the name of the clergy member you are searching for, you may still have a legitimate claim against them. The list is updated as more information comes to light.
If you or a loved one has been abused by a clergy member in California, please feel free to contact us about your legal rights. Whether the abuser is on this list or not, we are here to help.
There are 326 accused clergy members from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA:
There are 35 accused clergy members from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, CA:
There are 14 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Fresno, CA:
There are 30 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Monterey, CA:
There are 44 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Oakland, CA:
There are 26 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Orange, CA:
There are 48 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Sacramento, CA:
There are 31 accused clergy members from the Diocese of San Bernardino, CA:
There are 54 accused clergy members from the Diocese of San Diego, CA:
There are 35 accused clergy members from the Diocese of San Francisco, CA:
There are 19 accused clergy members from the Diocese of San Jose, CA:
There are 21 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Santa Rosa, CA:
There are 13 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Stockton, CA:
With or without compensation, survivors do not have to process sexual assault alone. Many California organizations offer resources for sexual abuse survivors.
California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA)
CALCASA is a statewide organization dedicated to ending sexual violence. It provides numerous resources for survivors of sexual assault.
California Sexual Violence Programs by City
|City||Facility Name||Phone Number(s)|
|Bakersfield||Alliance Against Family Violence & Sexual Assault||Hotline: 661-327-1091|
LGBTQ-Focused Hotline: 661-332-1506
Toll-Free Hotline: 800-273-7713
|Oakland||Bay Area Women Against Rape||Hotline: 510-845-7273|
|Mariposa||Mountain Crisis Services of Mariposa County||Hotline: 888-966-2350|
|Merced||Valley Crisis Center of Merced County||Hotline: 209-722-4357 |
|Hemet||Center Against Sexual Assault of Southwest Riverside County||Hotline: 866-373-8300|
|Yuba City||Casa de Esperanza||Hotline: 530-674-2040|
|Center for Community Solutions||Hotline: 888-385-4657|
|Sonora||Center for Non-Violent Community||Hotline: 209-533-3401|
|Placerville||Center for Violence-Free Relationships||Hotline: 530-626-1131 |
|Los Angeles||Center for Pacific Asian Family||Hotline: 800-339-3940|
|Oxnard||Coalition for Family Harmony||Hotline: 805-656-1111|
|Woodland||Empower Yolo||Hotline: 530-662-1133|
|Haven Women's Center of Stanislaus||Hotline: 209-577-5980 |
|Visalia||Family Services of Tulare County||Hotline: 559-732-7273|
|Oakland||Highland Hospital Sexual Assault Center, Alameda Health System||Hotline: 510-534-9290|
|Weaverville||Human Response Network||Hotline: 530-623-4357|
|Hanford||Kings Community Action Organization||Hotline: 877-727-3225|
|Jamestown||Kene Me-Wu — American Indian Domestic Violence / Sexual Assault Program||Hotline: 800-792-7776|
|Lake Family Resource Center||Hotline: 888-485-7733|
|Susanville||Lassen Family Services||Hotline: 530-257-5004|
South Lake Tahoe
|Live Violence Free||Hotline: 530-544-4444|
|Alturas||Modoc Crisis Center, Training, Employment and Community Help (T.E.A.C.H.)||Hotline: 855-855-6745|
|Monarch Services||Hotline: 888-900-4232|
|Napa||Napa Emergency Women's Services||Hotline: 707-255-6397 |
|Monterey||Monterey County Rape Crisis Center||Hotline: 831-375-4357|
|Salinas||Monterey County Rape Crisis Center||Hotline: 838-424-4357|
|Eureka||North Coast Rape Crisis Team||Hotline: 707-445-2881|
|Crescent City||North Coast Rape Crisis Team||Hotline: 707-465-2851|
|North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center||Hotline: 805-736-7273 |
|Redding||One SAFE Place||Hotline:|
530-244-0117 — Shasta
530-474-1910 — Shingletown
|Jackson||Operation Care||Hotline: 209-223-2600|
|Los Angeles||Peace Over Violence||Hotline: 213-626-3393 |
|Pasadena||Peace Over Violence||Hotline: 626-793-3385|
|Pomona||Project Sister Family Services||Hotline: 909-626-4357|
|Ukiah||Project Sanctuary||Hotline: 707-463-4357|
|Fort Bragg||Project Sanctuary||Hotline: 707-964-4357|
|Rape Crisis Department, YWCA of Silicon Valley||Hotline: 408-287-3000 |
|Rape Crisis Intervention and Prevention||Hotline: 530-342-7273|
|Santa Monica||Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical Center||Hotline: 310-319-4000|
|San Mateo||Rape Trauma Services of San Mateo County||Hotline: 650-692-7273|
|RCS Fresno — Rape Counseling Services||Hotline: 559-222-7273|
|San Luis Obispo|
|Fairfield||SAFEQUEST Solano||Hotline: 866-487-7233|
|Riverside||Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center||Hotline: 951-686-7273|
|San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services||Hotline: 909-885-8884|
|San Francisco||San Francisco Women Against Rape||Hotline: 415-647-7273|
|Santa Barbara||Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center||Hotline: 805-564-3696|
|Lancaster||Sexual Assault Response Services, Valley Oasis||Hotline: 661-723-7273|
|Santa Ana||Sexual Assault Victim Services, Community Service Program||Hotline: 714-957-2737|
|Stand Up Placer||Hotline: 800-575-5352|
|Yreka||Siskiyou Domestic Violence & Crisis Center||Hotline: 877-842-4068|
|Strength United||Hotline: |
818-886-0453 — San Fernando Valley
661-253-0258 — Santa Clarita Valley
|Quincy||The Resource Center||Hotline: 530-215-7273|
|Tahoe Safe Alliance||Hotline: 800-736-1060|
|San Andreas||The Resource Connection, Calaveras Crisis Center||Hotline: 209-736-4011|
|Livermore||Tri-Valley Haven||Hotline: 800-884-8119|
|Victim Services Center, Community Action Partnership of Madera County||Hotline: 800-355-8989|
|Santa Rosa||Verity||Hotline: 707-545-7273|
|Pomona||Violence Prevention & Women's Resource Center, California State University, Pomona||Hotline: 909-869-3102|
|Sacramento||WEAVE, Inc.||Hotline: 916-920-2952|
|Women's Center — Youth & Family Services||Hotline: 209-465-4997|
|Wild Iris Family Counseling and Crisis Services||Hotline: 877-873-7384|
|Oceanside||Women's Resource Center||Hotline: 760-757-3500|
|YWCA of Greater Los Angeles County||Hotline: 877-943-5778|
|Source:||California Coalition Against Sexual Assault|
California Diocese Victims Assistance Programs
The archdioceses in California offer resources to survivors of clergy abuse. The victim-assistance programs help connect abuse victims with counseling and other support services. Contact information for each program is found below.
Archdiocese of Los Angeles | Office of Victims Assistance Ministry
Phone Number: 800-355-2545
Victim Assistance Coordinator:
Dr. Heather Banis, PhD | 213-637-7650 | [email protected]
Archdiocese of San Francisco | Office of Child and Youth Protection
Phone Number: 415-614-5506
Victim Assistance Coordinator:
Rocio Rodriguez, LMFT | [email protected]
California Priest Abuse FAQs
How Do I Report Sexual Abuse by a Priest in California?
If you or the suspected victim are in immediate danger, call the police.
To report sexual abuse of a minor:
Call the appropriate California County Emergency Response Child Abuse Reporting Hotline. You can find the correct hotline for your county here.
To report any sexual abuse:
Call your local law enforcement agency.
Is There Help for Someone Who Was Sexually Abused By a Priest in California?
Yes. There are many resources available to survivors of priest abuse. You can find many of them here.
Do I Have to Currently Live in California to File a California Clergy Abuse Lawsuit?
No. A plaintiff does not have to live in California to file a lawsuit in California. But the case must have some connection to California. The following connections would allow a non-California resident to file a lawsuit in the state:
- The abuse occurred in California.
- The responsible institution is headquartered in California.
Who Can File on Behalf of a Victim?
A clergy abuse survivor’s estate may file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim. Also, any individual with legal authority can file a lawsuit for the victim. Parents, legal guardians and conservators all have the legal authority to file on behalf of their dependents.
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If you or a loved one suffered abuse while involved with the Catholic Church, you have rights.
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Meneo Group managing partner: Ron Meneo
With more than 30 years of practice in product liability and personal injury law, The Meneo Law Group and its partners have helped clients obtain more than $20 billion in total compensation.
List of Credibly Accused Priests Incardinated in the Diocese of Orange. (2019, March 30).
Credible Accusations – Oakland Diocese. (2019, June 5).
BishopAccountability.com. Lists of Accused Priests Released by Dioceses and Religious Institutes.
Diocese of Stockton. Credibly Accused.
Assembly Bill No. 218. (California 2019).
(2017, September 6). Church to pay $60 million. Dailybreeze.
Jesuits Agree to Sex Case Payout. (2007, May 18). The Los Angeles Times.
Americas | LA cardinal offers abuse apology. (2007, July 16). BBC America.
Martinez, A., & Kucher, K. (n.d.). San Diego San Diego Priest Abuse Claims Settled. Sign On San Diego.
Moleski, V., Egel, B., & Lillis, R. (2018, December 7). Jesuits Release Names of 11 Priests Accused of Abuse in Sacramento Area. The Sacramento Bee.
Are California Catholic Dioceses Using Victim Compensation Fund to Prevent Future Lawsuits? (2019, May 25). ABC10.
Stone, K. (2019, September 24). $500,000 Payouts Possible to Victims of San Diego Priest Abuse via Claims. Times of San Diego.
Catholic Dioceses and Orders That Filed for Bankruptcy and Other Major Settlements. (2018, May 31). NCR Online.
Embattled Stockton Diocese Nears Bankruptcy Exit; Attorneys and Alleged Victims Speak Out. (2017, January 11). Union Democrat.
Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets to Limit Abuse Payouts. (2020, January 8). Bloomberg.