March 23, 2005

Molest victim's ex-wife talks to jury

San Francisco Chronicle

Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The former wife of sexual abuse victim Dennis Kavanaugh told a San Francisco jury Tuesday that her husband was "very guarded and inaccessible'' and had never been able to tell her during their 23-year marriage that he had been betrayed as a teenager by his priest.

"He always maintained a protective barrier within himself,'' Jean Kavanaugh said. "The closeness you expect to have with your partner ... I could only go so far.''

Jean Kavanaugh, nervously chewing gum, told the jury that her ex-husband was a good father and family provider who had rejected his Roman Catholic upbringing and would not allow their two children to attend church or Sunday school.

"He told me he did not believe in God,'' she said.

Last week, the Superior Court jury found that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco knew or should have known that the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard molested Kavanaugh at St. Martin of Tours Church in San Jose in the early 1970s. This week, jurors must decide how much money to award him.

Posted by kshaw at March 23, 2005 11:32 AM