May 28, 2005

Judge rules ex-altar boys may seek damages

San Francisco Chronicle

Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Two former altar boys who say they were sexually abused by a San Jose priest in the 1970s may seek punitive damages against the Archdiocese of San Francisco, an Alameda County judge tentatively ruled Friday.

When made final by Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw, the order could put new pressure on the archdiocese to settle dozens of negligence claims still pending for the actions of local church leaders before Archbishop William Levada's 1995 arrival in San Francisco.

The judge's tentative ruling involves one of 18 lawsuits claiming negligent supervision of the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard, the former pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish in San Jose.

Last month, a San Francisco jury awarded four other plaintiffs nearly $6 million for sexual abuse inflicted by Pritchard, who died in 1988.

That judgment came on top of another $437,000 award in March stemming from sexual misconduct by the San Jose priest.

Posted by kshaw at May 28, 2005 08:25 AM