March 22, 2005

Abuse Case Enters Key Phase

Los Angeles Times

By Jean Guccione, Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO A closely watched case that could set a benchmark for hundreds of sexual abuse claims against Roman Catholic dioceses in California moved to a crucial phase Monday as a former altar boy told jurors how he was repeatedly abused by a Roman Catholic priest over three years.

Dennis Kavanaugh, 47, testified he lost his faith in the years after he was molested in San Jose.

His mother told jurors that during his sophomore year in high school, her son lost interest in school and athletics and stopped going to Mass, telling her "there is no God."

The Archdiocese of San Francisco has conceded that Kavanaugh, a former altar boy, was molested during the 1970s by the late Father Joseph T. Pritchard and that the church must pay. What is at stake in the trial, and in a similar proceeding in Hayward, across San Francisco Bay, is how much the bill will be.

Posted by kshaw at March 22, 2005 08:02 AM