Church Against The Horizon

Clergy Abuse In California

In 2019, state lawmakers passed the California Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218), also known as the California Child Victims Act. The new law expanded the legal rights for child sexual abuse survivors.

One of the measures of AB 218 is a three-year “look back” window for civil claims. This window gives many survivors a second chance to seek justice. The window closes on December 31, 2022.

Due in large part to the measures of AB 218, the Catholic dioceses of California are currently facing lawsuits, bankruptcies and monetary settlements related to priest sexual abuse claims.

Were You Abused by a Priest in California?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

In 2019, state lawmakers passed the California Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218), also known as the California Child Victims Act. The new law expanded the legal rights for child sexual abuse survivors.

One of the measures of AB 218 is a three-year “look back” window for civil claims. This window gives many survivors a second chance to seek justice. The window closes on December 31, 2022.

Due in large part to the measures of AB 218, the Catholic dioceses of California are currently facing lawsuits, bankruptcies and monetary settlements related to priest sexual abuse claims.

Were You Abused by a Priest in California?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

California Priest Abuse Lawsuits

California AB 218 restored hundreds of abuse survivors’ rights to file lawsuits. Many individuals taking advantage of their renewed legal options are survivors of priest abuse. More than 600 priest abuse lawsuits are expected to be filed in Northern California alone.  

Since 2002, more than 1,000 clergy sexual abuse survivors have filed lawsuits against the California Catholic dioceses. Several of the dioceses have been implicated in recent abuse lawsuits.

2021 | Diocese Of San Diego Priest Abuse Lawsuits

In 2020 and 2021, multiple lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of San Diego. The alleged abuse incidents occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. At least one of these lawsuits also names the San Bernardino Diocese as a defendant.

2021 | Diocese Of Fresno Priest Abuse Lawsuits

In June 2021, survivors filed several lawsuits against the Diocese of Fresno. The lawsuits accuse former priest, Craig Harrison, of child sexual abuse. The lawsuits also claim the Diocese of Fresno concealed the priest’s abusive actions. 

Harrison denies the allegations. However, the diocese removed him from active ministry following the first allegation.

Clergy Abuse Settlements In California

Since 2005, the California dioceses have paid more than $1 billion in settlements related to clergy abuse allegations. These settlements were the result of civil lawsuits. As of April 2019, the Los Angeles Archdiocese had paid more than $740 million in settlements.

2005 | Orange Diocese Pays $100 Million Settlement

In 2005, the Orange Diocese paid a $100 million settlement to roughly 90 abuse survivors. At the time, it was one of the largest priest abuse settlements in the nation.

2007 | Los Angeles Archdiocese Pays $660 Million Settlement

In 2007, the Los Angeles Archdiocese paid $660 million to settle claims with 508 abuse survivors. Each survivor received approximately $1.3 million. It is one of the largest clergy abuse settlements to date. 

2019 | Los Angeles Archdiocese Pays $8 Million Settlement

In April 2019, the Los Angeles Archdiocese agreed to pay $8 million to a single abuse survivor. It was one of the largest settlements paid by the archdiocese to an individual. 

That same year, the Los Angeles Archdiocese joined five other California dioceses to create a victim compensation program. This program created an option for survivors to receive compensation without filing a lawsuit.

California Dioceses Compensation Fund

As of February 29, 2020, the California Independent Compensation Program (ICP) is no longer accepting new claims.

In 2019, six California dioceses created the Independent Compensation Program (ICP). The following California dioceses participated in the ICP:

  • Archdiocese of Los Angeles
  • Diocese of Fresno
  • Diocese of Orange
  • Diocese of Sacramento
  • Diocese of San Bernardino
  • Diocese of San Diego

The program was designed to compensate clergy abuse victims outside of the legal system. Clergy abuse survivors who accepted compensation through the ICP forfeited their right to sue the dioceses for abuse claims in the future.

On July 29, 2021, the ICP made its last payment to an abuse survivor. In total, the dioceses paid $23,970,000 to 197 eligible claimants. 

Survivors who did not accept compensation from the ICP may still be eligible to file a civil lawsuit against these six Catholic dioceses in California. Speak with one of our experienced attorneys to learn more about your legal options.

California Dioceses Bankruptcies

Two California dioceses have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid a growing number of abuse lawsuits. Nearly 30 Catholic dioceses have filed for bankruptcy nationwide.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used to protect businesses that are struggling financially. The process evaluates and reorganizes a business’ assets. In doing so, a business can pay off debts while maintaining enough capital to continue functioning properly.

San Diego Diocese Bankruptcy

In February 2007, the Diocese of San Diego declared bankruptcy. It was one of the earliest American Catholic dioceses to file for bankruptcy. The diocese agreed to pay $198 million to 144 survivors as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.

Stockton Diocese Bankruptcy

In January 2014, the Diocese of Stockton filed for bankruptcy. The diocese agreed to pay $15 million to clergy abuse survivors as part of the bankruptcy plan.

Child Sex Abuse Statutes Of Limitations In California

In 2019, California legislators passed Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218). This bill extends the legal deadline to file civil claims of child sex abuse. The bill is also commonly known as the California Child Victims Act. 

The bill includes several important provisions:

  • AB 218 extended the civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse survivors. 
  • AB 218 extended the state’s discovery rule for child sexual abuse claims.
  • AB 218 opened a three-year “look back” window, during which any survivor can file civil claims falling outside the new time limit. 
  • AB 218 allows courts to award triple damages in sexual abuse cases where evidence of a cover-up exists.

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a legal deadline. SOLs vary based on the jurisdiction, the crime and the intended legal action (i.e. criminal charges versus a civil claim).

Civil Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In California

In California, child sexual abuse survivors must file a civil lawsuit against an abuser before they reach 40 years of age. After age 40, survivors lose their right to file a civil claim. California’s AB 218 extended this civil statute from 26 years old to 40 years old. 

The state of California also has a discovery rule for incidents of child sexual abuse. Under this rule, survivors have five years to file a civil claim, regardless of their age. The discovery window begins when an individual discovers or should have discovered an injury related to the abuse. 

AB 218 also opened a three-year “look back” window for civil claims. 

California’s “Look Back” Window

AB 218 extended the state’s civil statutes. But, without additional measures, this new legal deadline would still prevent survivors older than 40 years of age from filing civil lawsuits. 

To help older survivors, AB 218 also created a three-year “look back” window. This window temporarily revives all expired civil claims of child sexual abuse in California. Any child sex abuse survivor can file a civil lawsuit during this period.

This is the second “look back” window of its kind in the state of California. Lawmakers previously opened a one-year retroactive window in 2003. 

The current “look back” window opened on January 1, 2020. The three-year window will close on December 31, 2022.

You May Have New Legal Rights

Speak With Our Lawyers About California’s Child Victims Act

Criminal Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In California

In California, there is no criminal statute for most felony sexual offenses, including child sexual abuse.

Senate Bill 447

Senate Bill 447 (SB 447) was signed into law on October 1, 2021. This new law allows family members to file a claim for the emotional damages suffered by a deceased abuse survivor. This means family members may be eligible to receive compensation for a deceased loved one’s pain, suffering or disfigurement.

Prior to SB 447, California only allowed family members to recover monetary losses related to an injury, such as medical bills or wages lost. California was one of only five states that did not allow compensation for non-economic losses.

With the passing of SB 447, abuse survivors and their families have been given a new path to justice. California survivors and their families can now hold an abuser or negligent organization, such as a diocese, accountable, even after a survivor passes.

List Of Priests Accused Of Abuse In California

The list below includes clergy members and Catholic priests accused of abuse in California. 

The list does not include church staff or volunteers accused of similar allegations in the California dioceses. However, you may still be able to sue the diocese for its role in your abuse by one of these individuals. 

If you or a loved one has been abused by a clergy member in California, contact us about your legal rights. Whether your abuser is on this list or not, we are here to help.

Survivors May Be Eligible For Compensation

Learn About Filing a Claim in California

There Are 326 Accused Clergy Members From The Archdiocese Of Los Angeles, CA:

If you are not able to find a specific priest accused of abuse on our California list, search our nationwide database of accused priests. The abuser you are looking for may be listed under another state or dioceses.

If you are not able to find the name of an abuser in our database, you may still have a legitimate claim against them. We are to help you seek justice, regardless of whether your abuser is already facing abuse allegations. Speak to a trusted attorney today to learn more about your legal options.

California Priest Abuse Victim Resources

Survivors do not have to process the trauma of sexual violence alone. Many California organizations offer resources for sexual abuse and assault survivors.

California Sexual Violence Programs by City

CityFacility NamePhone Number(s)
BakersfieldAlliance Against Family Violence & Sexual AssaultHotline: 661-327-1091
LGBTQ-Focused Hotline: 661-332-1506
Toll-Free Hotline: 800-273-7713
OaklandBay Area Women Against RapeHotline: 510-845-7273
MariposaMountain Crisis Services of Mariposa CountyHotline: 888-966-2350
Hotline: 209-966-2350
MercedValley Crisis Center of Merced CountyHotline: 209-722-4357  
Hotline: 209-725-7900
HemetCenter Against Sexual Assault of Southwest Riverside CountyHotline: 866-373-8300
Yuba CityCasa de EsperanzaHotline: 530-674-2040
San Diego
El Cajon
Center for Community SolutionsHotline: 888-385-4657
SonoraCenter for Non-Violent CommunityHotline: 209-533-3401
PlacervilleCenter for Violence-Free RelationshipsHotline: 530-626-1131 
Hotline: 916-939-6616
Los AngelesCenter for Pacific Asian FamilyHotline: 800-339-3940
OxnardCoalition for Family HarmonyHotline: 805-656-1111
Hotline: 800-300-2181
WoodlandEmpower YoloHotline: 530-662-1133
Hotline: 916-371-1907
Haven Women's Center of StanislausHotline: 209-577-5980 
Hotline: 888-454-2836
VisaliaFamily Services of Tulare CountyHotline: 559-732-7273
OaklandHighland Hospital Sexual Assault Center, Alameda Health SystemHotline: 510-534-9290
Hotline: 510-534-9291
WeavervilleHuman Response NetworkHotline: 530-623-4357
HanfordKings Community Action OrganizationHotline: 877-727-3225
JamestownKene Me-Wu — American Indian Domestic Violence / Sexual Assault ProgramHotline: 800-792-7776
Lake Family Resource CenterHotline: 888-485-7733
SusanvilleLassen Family ServicesHotline: 530-257-5004
Hotline: 888-289-5004
South Lake Tahoe
Live Violence FreeHotline: 530-544-4444
AlturasModoc Crisis Center, Training, Employment and Community Help (T.E.A.C.H.)Hotline: 855-855-6745
Santa Cruz
Monarch ServicesHotline: 888-900-4232
NapaNapa Emergency Women's ServicesHotline: 707-255-6397  
Hotline: 800-799-7233
MontereyMonterey County Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 831-375-4357
SalinasMonterey County Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 838-424-4357
EurekaNorth Coast Rape Crisis TeamHotline: 707-445-2881
Crescent CityNorth Coast Rape Crisis TeamHotline: 707-465-2851
Santa Maria
North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection CenterHotline: 805-736-7273 
Hotline: 805-928-3554
ReddingOne SAFE PlaceHotline:
530-244-0117 — Shasta
530-474-1910 — Shingletown
JacksonOperation CareHotline: 209-223-2600
Los AngelesPeace Over ViolenceHotline: 213-626-3393 
Hotline: 310-392-8381
PasadenaPeace Over ViolenceHotline: 626-793-3385
PomonaProject Sister Family ServicesHotline: 909-626-4357
Hotline: 626-966-4155
UkiahProject SanctuaryHotline: 707-463-4357
Fort BraggProject SanctuaryHotline: 707-964-4357
San Jose
Rape Crisis Department, YWCA of Silicon ValleyHotline: 408-287-3000 
Hotline: 650-493-7273
Red Bluff
Rape Crisis Intervention and PreventionHotline: 530-342-7273
Santa MonicaRape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical CenterHotline: 310-319-4000
San MateoRape Trauma Services of San Mateo CountyHotline: 650-692-7273
RCS Fresno — Rape Counseling ServicesHotline: 559-222-7273
San Luis Obispo
Paso Robles
RISEHotline: 855-886-7473
FairfieldSAFEQUEST SolanoHotline: 866-487-7233
RiversideRiverside Area Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 951-686-7273
Hotline: 866-686-7273
San Bernardino
Palm Desert
Yucca Valley
San Bernardino Sexual Assault ServicesHotline: 909-885-8884
Hotline: 800-656-4673
San FranciscoSan Francisco Women Against RapeHotline: 415-647-7273
Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 805-564-3696
LancasterSexual Assault Response Services, Valley OasisHotline: 661-723-7273
Santa AnaSexual Assault Victim Services, Community Service ProgramHotline: 714-957-2737
Hotline: 949-831-9110
Stand Up PlacerHotline: 800-575-5352
YrekaSiskiyou Domestic Violence & Crisis CenterHotline: 877-842-4068
Van Nuys
Santa Clarita
Strength UnitedHotline: 
818-886-0453 — San Fernando Valley
661-253-0258 — Santa Clarita Valley
QuincyThe Resource CenterHotline: 530-215-7273
Hotline: 877-332-2754
Kings Beach
Tahoe Safe AllianceHotline: 800-736-1060
San AndreasThe Resource Connection, Calaveras Crisis CenterHotline: 209-736-4011
LivermoreTri-Valley HavenHotline: 800-884-8119
Hotline: 925-449-5842
Bass Lake
Victim Services Center, Community Action Partnership of Madera CountyHotline: 800-355-8989
Santa RosaVerityHotline: 707-545-7273
PomonaViolence Prevention & Women's Resource Center, California State University, PomonaHotline: 909-869-3102
SacramentoWEAVE, Inc.Hotline: 916-920-2952
Hotline: 866-920-2952
Women's Center — Youth & Family ServicesHotline: 209-465-4997
Mammoth Lakes
Wild Iris Family Counseling and Crisis ServicesHotline: 877-873-7384
OceansideWomen's Resource CenterHotline: 760-757-3500
Los Angeles
Long Beach
YWCA of Greater Los Angeles CountyHotline: 877-943-5778

California Priest Abuse FAQs

What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Priest Sexual Abuse In California?

Currently, any priest abuse survivor can file a civil lawsuit in California. AB 218 opened a three-year “look back” window reviving all expired claims of child sexual abuse. 

The window closes on December 31, 2022. Survivors with older claims of abuse should consider filing a claim soon. 

Learn more about child sexual abuse statutes in California here >

How Do I Report Sexual Abuse By A Priest In California?

Emergency Call Icon

If you or a suspected victim is in danger, call 911 immediately.

You can report suspected child abuse to your local Emergency Child Abuse Reporting Hotline. Find your county’s 24-hour hotline here

For more information about reporting sexual abuse, visit our resource page >

If you or a loved one was abused by a diocesan priest, you can also report the incident to the relevant diocese. 

  • Report Abuse To The Los Angeles Archdiocese

    Archdiocesan Victims Assistance Office
    Phone: 213-637-7650

  • Report Abuse To The San Francisco Archdiocese

    Rocio Rodriguez, LMFT | Victim Assistance Coordinator
    Phone: 415-614-5506
    Email: [email protected]

  • Report Abuse To The Fresno Diocese

    Victim Assistance Coordinator
    Phone: 559-488-7400

  • Report Abuse To The Monterey Diocese

    Sagrario “Rio” Castillo | Victims Assistance Coordinator
    Phone: 1-800-321-5220
    Email: [email protected]

  • Report Abuse To The Orange Diocese

    Phone: 800-364-3064

  • Report Abuse To The Sacramento Diocese

    Phone: 866-777-9133

  • Report Abuse To The San Bernardino Diocese

    Victims Assistance Coordinator
    Phone: 888-206-9090
    Phone: 909-855-2296

  • Report Abuse To The San Diego Diocese

    Mary Acosta | Victim Assistance Coordinator
    Phone: 858-490-8353

  • Report Abuse To The San Jose Diocese

    Griselda Cervantez | Victim Assistance Coordinator
    Phone: 408-983-0225
    Email: [email protected]

  • Report Abuse To The Santa Rosa Diocese

    Julie Sparacio | Director | Office for Child and Youth Protection
    Phone: 707-566-3308
    Email: [email protected]

  • Report Abuse To The Stockton Diocese

    Cynthia Dragun | Victim Assistance Coordinator
    Phone:  209-466-0636

California Clergy Abuse News

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Ron Meneo, Managing Partner at Meneo Law Group.

Meneo Group managing partner: Ron Meneo

Ron Meneo is the managing partner of The Meneo Law Group. With more than 40 years of experience, he represents clients across the country on a variety of complex legal matters, including personal injury due to institutional sexual abuse, unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and other practice areas. He is a recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s prestigious AV® Preeminent Rating. He has also served as an editor and contributor for several legal journals.

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