The suit alleges that on July 26, 2016, Monsignor Larry McGovern sent sexually explicit photographs to the victim, a pool maintenance contractor, then terminated his employment after the victim reported the incident.
"This is a classic case of sexual harassment and retaliation," said victim's attorney John Manly. "Monsignor McGovern texted a graphic photograph of his naked genitalia to my client, then terminated his employment after my client reported the lewd photo to the police. This would be a clear violation of the law by any employer but it is even more disturbing when committed by a member of the clergy," said Manly.
After receiving the photograph, the victim asked him why he sent it, pointing out, "I thought you were celibate, Monsignor," to which Monsignor McGovern replied with a statement that is directly contrary to Catholic theology, stating, "celibate means not married…"
Monsignor McGovern and the Diocese of Stockton are not strangers to the issue of clergy sexual misconduct. McGovern served as Vicar General of the Diocese of Stockton during a time when the Diocese was besieged by sex abuse lawsuits.
The diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014, citing 14 million dollars in judgements, settlements and legal expenses resulting from dozens of cases of clergy sexual abuse filed over 20 years.
Monsignor McGovern was a key witness in several of these cases involving two of the worst serial sexual abusers, Father Oliver O'Grady and Father Michael Kelly.
The largest settlement in these cases, 3.75 million dollars, was awarded to Travis Trotter a client of Manly, Stewart and Finaldi.
"Monsignor McGovern was a witness and denied knowing of any sexual improprieties by Father Kelly and Father O'Grady, despite living with them in the rectory for years and contrary to victim statements. It is sad but not surprising that he now stands accused of sexual misconduct," said victims' attorney Vince W. Finaldi.
About Manly, Stewart & Finaldi
Manly, Stewart and Finaldi is California's leading law firm representing child victims of sexual abuse. The firm has represented more than 150 victims of clergy sexual abuse in California and hundreds of others throughout the United States. The firm also represented plaintiffs in the $140,000,000 settlement against LAUSD in the Miramonte case, the largest sex abuse settlement against a School District in the US.
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SOURCE Manly, Stewart and Finaldi