March 25, 2005

Church Abuse Victim Speaks Out After Verdict


Mar 25, 2005 1:29 pm US/Pacific
(CBS 5) A man who won a lawsuit against the San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese for not stopping his abuse by a priest says he wants to help other survivors.

Dennis Kavanaugh, now 37, was 13 and an altar boy at a San Jose church when the sexual abuse by Reverend Joseph Pritchard began. Pritchard, who died of cancer in 1988, molested Kavanaugh at least 30 times.

This was the first Catholic priest sex abuse civil case in the state to go to trial since the statute of limitations for filing claims was lifted in 2002. The outcome -- and the jury verdict awarding Kavanaugh $437,000 -- could influence how other cases are handled.

"I don't think any amount of money can compensate what I lost," said Kavanaugh. "But I respect the decision of the jury and I look forward to helping the other survivors in the case."

There are more than 150 cases like Kavanaugh's in the Bay Area alone, but his is the first in California to go to trial. The San Francisco and Oakland dioceses have settled some, but this decision could push other victims to go to trial one by one.

Posted by kshaw at March 25, 2005 05:41 PM