Former Monterey priest accused in new molestation suit

John Doe 75 says he was molested as 9-year-old student at San Carlos School in Monterey in 1966

Monterey County Herald/August 3, 2011

Another man has filed suit alleging he was molested by a Monterey diocese priest. It is the second complaint filed in as many weeks.

"John Doe 75" says he was molested by Father William Allison when he was a 9-year-old student at San Carlos School in Monterey in 1966. The suit alleges diocese officials knew Allison molested "many children" in Arizona, New Mexico and Louisiana and was sent to a Roman Catholic "treatment center" before he was shuffled to Monterey.

Despite that knowledge, the suit states, the diocese did nothing to warn parents or teachers of the danger. John Doe 75, an altar boy from a devoutly religious family, was molested in the parish rectory during an 18-month period, according to the suit filed by Sacramento attorney Joseph George Sr.

George said his client is one of two men who have told him they were molested by Allison. The other man hasn't filed suit. The men allege Allison took students to his bedroom during lunch recess, gave them treats, let them watch television and molested them, saying "it was God's way."

Warren Hoy, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Monterey, said church officials are aware of the lawsuit but have not been formally served. It was filed July 21 in Sacramento County, where John Doe 75 now lives.

Hoy said diocese officials will have to retrieve Allison's personnel file from offsite archives before they can respond to the allegations. Allison is dead, Hoy said.

Whether the file exists is unknown, George said. Among his allegations is a failure by American bishops to keep secret files of priest misconduct required under Canon law.

The requirement, he states, is part of the larger cloak of secrecy used to cover centuries of sexual abuse by priests.

Between 1962 and 2001, a papal edict prohibited Catholic bishops from revealing molestations to anyone, including law enforcement, employees or supervisors of parish priests.

Instead, as has been shown in lawsuits across the country, priests were shuffled among parishes and placed in treatment centers. According to the lawsuit, Allison was treated at a Servants of Paracletes center in New Mexico after molestations there and in Arizona and Louisiana.

Allison, released from treatment, was transferred to Monterey in 1962. By 1963, documents show, California church officials were aware of his background.

George represents hundreds of alleged clergy abuse victims, thus the numbering of his John Doe clients. Many of the lawsuits have been settled as part of a consolidated group of Northern California claims filed between 2003 and 2004.

Discovery in the cases uncovered reams of documents that implicate church officials in a widespread cover-up, George said. Among them is Cardinal Roger M. Mahoney, who was director of the Monterey-Fresno Diocese in 1966.

Letters posted on show church officials exchanged letters from 1963 to 1964 confirming reports of molestations by Allison in Arizona and California.

In November 1966, Mahoney sought information from the Chancery Office in Los Angeles because Allison, who had recently been transferred from "the Coast" to Fresno, was claiming to be a clinical psychologist and working with drug addicts.

In response, Mahoney received "confidential" information that he said was "extremely useful in filling in some missing links in Father's activities here in our diocese recently."

"From what we have been able to observe and document," Mahoney wrote, "it is quite certain that Father Allison is a sick man and in need of professional treatment."

The letters indicate Allison's claims of being a psychologist were false and he was suspected of embezzling from the church.

John Doe 75's discovery of the online documents made him realize he was not alone in his molestation and that the church failed to protect him, said George.

The attorney said John Doe 75 found the documents after learning about the 2009 arrest of Salinas priest the Rev. Antonio Cortes, who pleaded no contest in March to felony charges of sodomy and possession of child pornography.

Cortes, the former pastor of St. Mary of the Nativity Church, was sentenced to a year in jail with a three-year suspended prison sentence in May. His victim filed a civil lawsuit July 11.

Contrary to that complaint, church spokesman Hoy said, Cortes stopped receiving his $2,500 monthly stipend when he pleaded no contest. As it did in the criminal case, he said, the diocese advised Cortes he will need to hire his own attorney.

Another man filed suit in Monterey in June, alleging he was molested by an as yet unnamed priest between 1960 and 1964.

John Doe 75, 53, is asking for unspecified damages for negligent hiring and supervision, fraud and failure to warn.

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