April 14, 2005

20 years later brothers finally get some justice


In a radical judgment that tries to make amends with past mistakes, a California court today awarded $2 million in damages to two brothers who were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest.

About 20 years ago Robert Thatcher now 34, and his brother Tom now 33, had accused Robert Ponciroli of abusing them when they were altar boys for the Catholic Diocese of Oakland in Antioch east of San Francisco. They had also accused the diocese of deliberately concealing the fact that Rev. Robert Ponciroli was a pedophile. He had tickled or molested the brothers in a makeshift rectory at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Antioch during late 1970s to early 1980s. Robert Ponciroli now lives in Florida. He was defrocked but never faced any charges.

Though the jury did not award $27 million as claimed by the brothers, it did suitably compensate them. Bob Thatcher was awarded $875,000 in compensatory damages and $875,000 in punitive damages, while his brother, Tom Thatcher of Longwood; Fla got $180,000 in compensatory damages. Tom had not sought punitive damages.

Posted by kshaw at April 14, 2005 05:48 AM