Monterey diocese settles abuse case for $1.2 million

'John Doe' get $1.2M, apology for molestations

The Herald, Monterey County/May 30, 2009

The Diocese of Monterey agreed Friday to pay a former Salinas man $1.2 million for years of sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of two priests.

Bishop Richard Garcia will meet with the man and his family to formally apologize for the diocese's actions. The settlement, which does not include a confidentiality clause, heads off a trial that was set to start Monday.

The victim's attorney, John Manley of Newport Beach, said his client got what he set out to obtain.

"What he always wanted was an apology and for the documents to come out," Manley said, referring to the diocese's agreement to release all records and depositions that do not reveal the victim's identity.

Manley said the documents will reveal the diocese "has blood on its hands." Because church leaders failed to notify local law enforcement when they learned the boy was assaulted, he said, one of his abusers went on to molest the boy's brother and others.

The priest, the Rev. Juan Guillen, is serving a 10-year sentence in Arizona for the subsequent molestations. The other priest, the Rev. John Velez, is believed to be serving the church in Latin America.

Manley said his client, who is 29, accepted the deal Friday so his mother would not have to testify at what promised to be an arduous and painful trial.

"It's all about his mom," said Manley, adding that the year after "John Doe" filed his lawsuit against the dioceses of Monterey and Tucson, Ariz., he donated a portion of his liver to save her.

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