March 25, 2005

Church Loses Abuse Case

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Jean Guccione, Times Staff Writer

In the first jury verdict against the Roman Catholic Church in California since the sex-abuse crisis erupted three years ago, a San Francisco jury on Thursday awarded $437,000 to a gardener who was molested by a priest in the 1970s.

The award, thousands more than what lawyers for the archdiocese had suggested was consistent with the amounts paid to settle similar sex-abuse claims against the Orange Diocese last year, according to lawyers for plaintiffs.

The amount is expected to influence, and possibly reignite, stalled settlement talks in Los Angeles and throughout the state, giving lawyers on both sides some indication of how jurors are likely to resolve similar claims against the church.

The San Francisco case was selected by lawyers for all sides to set a low benchmark for the more than 700 claims against the Catholic Church in California.

Posted by kshaw at March 25, 2005 08:09 AM