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Brothers File Lawsuit In Ventura Claiming Abuse By Priest

Dec 23, 2003 | AP Two brothers filed a civil lawsuit against a former Catholic priest, claiming they were molested at a church in the early 1970s.

Rules imposed by the state Legislature kept the lawsuit filed Monday from immediately identifying the defendants.

Sutphin had been charged criminally with molesting six boys between 1968 and 1978 but those charges were dismissed earlier this year after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling struck down a California law allowing old sex abuse cases to be prosecuted.

Lawyers across the state have been racing to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for such lawsuits. The deadline was established by the Legislature as part of a special law aimed at the church and alleged abuse victims.

Scores of people have sued, with some alleging they were molested as long as 60 years ago.

In San Diego, two attorneys representing people who contend they were abused by priests filed a class action lawsuit against the Roman Catholic dioceses of San Diego and San Bernardino on Monday.

The class action suit, if allowed to go forward, would cover people who claim they were abused but have not yet filed suit and would not meet the Dec. 31 deadline, according to attorney Irwin Zalkin.

Rod Valdivia, the chancellor for the San Diego diocese, said it would challenge the establishment of a class action because differing circumstances should be handled individually.

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