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Catholic School Sued Over Sex Abuse Claim


Jul 2, 2003 | Mercury News

A Contra Costa County man is suing a prominent Catholic high school in Richmond, and its priests and administrators, for allegedly conspiring to protect one another after he complained one of them sexually abused him while he was a student in the 1970s.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Alameda County Superior Court, alleges breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and sexual battery by three priests and Salesian High School, which is overseen by the Western Provincial of the Salesian of St. Don Bosco, a Roman Catholic religious order.

The Salesian order's mission is working with young people, and poor youths in particular.

``I can't make a comment until I see what the accusation is and who is involved,'' said Provincial Father David Purdy in San Francisco.

The plaintiff, a 48-year-old man, was a high school freshman in 1969 when the abuse allegedly began, his attorneys said during a news conference outside the school's campus Tuesday morning.

``During the years he was here, he was subjected to not only physical abuse but to the coverup of the physical abuse,'' said Simons, one of three attorneys in the case.

The victim was physically abused, stalked and molested, the attorneys alleged.

``When he complained of this to the faculty and administrators, he was met with a wall of resistance,'' Simons said. The people to whom he confided, Simons said, ``were themselves abusers.''

The plaintiff's attorney revealed the name of the priest to reporters, but the Mercury News is not printing it because he was not named in the lawsuit. The defendant was also not named in the lawsuit. Both names may be added to the suit later, attorneys said.

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