April 14, 2005

Verdict: Diocese must pay for abuse

HAYWARD (CA)
The Argus

By Matt O'Brien, STAFF WRITER

HAYWARD A jury awarded $1.93 million in damages on Wednesday to two brothers who were abused by an East Bay priest more than 20 years ago.
The jury of 10 women and two men unanimously found that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland acted with "malice" by allowing a pedophile priest, the Rev. Robert Ponciroli, to molest the former Antioch altar boys.

But the dollar amount jurors awarded Bob Thatcher and Tom Thatcher was significantly lower than the $27 million their lawyer asked for during the trial's closing arguments Tuesday.

The brothers and their lawyers downplayed the significance of the money awards and called the verdict a clear victory for victims of clergy abuse.

"We weren't here for money," said Bob Thatcher, 34, speaking outside a courtroom in the Hayward Hall of Justice with his 33-year-old brother and several lawyers in tow.

Posted by kshaw at April 14, 2005 06:20 AM