March 08, 2005

Oakland Diocese sex abuse case moves forward

Contra Costa Times

By Randy Myers

HAYWARD - As an Alameda County judge met behind closed doors with lawyers Monday in the first Oakland Diocese sex abuse lawsuit, another judge simultaneously herded attorneys into a courtroom for settlement negotiations in 49 other cases.

Robert Thatcher, the plaintiff in the first case set for trial in Oakland, said it was surreal and emotional to see his case move forward.

"It's anxiety, it's hope; it's a whole range of emotions all wrapped up into one," Thatcher said.

Brothers Robert and Tom Thatcher claim they were sexually abused by former priest Robert Ponciroli while serving as altar boys at St. Ignatius in Antioch from 1979 to 1981.

The brothers seek unspecified punitive as well as other damages, and allege the church was aware of complaints regarding Ponciroli but failed to act upon them.

Posted by kshaw at March 8, 2005 06:57 AM