March 24, 2005

Jury awards victim $437,000 from San Jose priest's sex abuse

San Luis Obispo Tribune

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - The Archdiocese of San Francisco was ordered by a jury Thursday to pay $437,000 to a California man who says he was repeatedly fondled by a San Jose priest during the 1970s in a ruling that could influence hundreds of potential settlements statewide.

The San Francisco County Superior Court jury deliberated on damages for less than five hours before putting a price on Dennis Kavanaugh's emotional suffering, troubled personal life and lost wages.

The same jurors decided last Friday that the archdiocese was liable for the 37-year-old Kavanaugh's problems because church officials knew or should have known the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard was abusing young boys.

Neither Kavanaugh nor his attorney would say whether they were pleased or disappointed with the size of the award.

"A positive statement was made for the survivors, including myself," Kavanaugh said outside of court. "I look forward to being helpful any way I can to the other survivors who are still to come."

Bishop John Wester said the church had no plans to appeal the verdict and is "committed to a just compensation to all victims of clergy sexual abuse."

Posted by kshaw at March 24, 2005 08:13 PM