600 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse filed against five priests in Los Angeles and San Diego

News Summary/February 17, 2007

By Rick Ross

In June 2006 -- 155 San Diego-based lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests were set for trial in November.

Five sexual-abuse cases filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego were assigned to Judge John Einhorn by San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge Janis Sammartino.

The alleged abuse went back decades and concerned five priests.

More than $1 billion has been paid out by Catholic authorities to the victims of clergy abuse across the US through settlements and trials.

But 600 lawsuits regarding Los Angeles and San Diego claimants remained stalled through seemingly endless mediation the legal maneuvering of lawyers representing the Catholic diocese of those cities.

However, Haley J. Fromholz, Los Angeles Superior Court, put 10 – five in Los Angeles and five in San Diego – on a fast track in June of 2006.

The five priests, which were the focus of much of the litigation were as follows:

Rev. Franz Robier accused of molesting four sisters, ages 5 to 13, when they lived in a San Diego Catholic orphanage. Robier died in 1994.

Monsignor William Kraft, who allegedly attempted to rape a boy at St. Therese in Del Cerro, after sexually abusing him for five years. Kraft died in 1982.

Rev. Patrick O'Keefe, retired from the Diocese of San Bernardino, for allegedly sexually molesting a teenage boy at St. Adelaide church in the suburb of Highland.

19 lawsuits were filed involving former priest and convicted child molester Edward Anthony Rodrigue.

Rodrigue was on parole in January 2006 from state prison. He received a 10-year sentence in 1998 for molesting an 11-year-old, developmentally disabled boy in San Bernardino County.

A lawsuit alleged that when Rodrigue was a priest at El Centro's Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, he sexually abused a child repeatedly during 1976.

The Rev. John Daly, who died in 1989, was accused of molesting 16-year-old at St. Joseph Church in Holtville during 1977. Daly was arrested, but never prosecuted.

Note: This news summary was based upon an article titled "November trials for 5 priest lawsuits" by Mark Sauer published by the San Diego Union-Tribune/June 22, 2006

Copyright © 2007 Rick Ross.

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