New Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against Knights of Columbus

First Time Knights of Columbus Publicly Sued for Child Sexual Abuse

Alleged Abuser Remained Active in Youth Group Despite Allegation in 1980s

Dec 14, 2010, 12:43 ET from Herman, Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A.

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec. 14, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Miami law firm of Herman, Mermelstein & Horowitz announces the filing of two new child sexual abuse lawsuits against the Knights of Columbus, one of the world's largest organizations for Catholic men.  The Knights of Columbus operate a youth program, known as the Columbian Squires, for Catholic boys between the ages of 10-18.  Two former Columbian Squires alleged today that they were sexually abused by the adult leader of their Columbian Squires group in Brownsville, Texas.  This is believed to be the first time the Knights of Columbus have ever been sued for child sexual abuse allegations.

The suits allege that the two boys were sexually abused on multiple occasions by Julian Rivera, the leader of the Columbian Squires in Brownsville, Texas.  One victim claims that Rivera sexually abused him at gunpoint, and also threatened to kill his family if he did not comply with Rivera's demands.  Both Plaintiffs allege that Rivera provided them with alcohol and pornography to "groom" them before the physical contact began.  One suit alleges that Rivera "shared" his young victim with another Columbian Squires leader, who also sexually abused him.  

According to the Complaints, Rivera was a leader in the Columbian Squires youth program until very recently, despite a 1986 report to two different Knights of Columbus officials that Rivera sexually abused a member of his Squires group.

John Doe No. 1 v. Knights of Columbus (10-CV-1960) and Jim Dennany v. Knights of Columbus (10-CV-1961) were both filed Tuesday morning in Connecticut Federal Court.  Copies of the Complaints are available at

SOURCE Herman, Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A.