NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Oct. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys representing child abuse victims of the Roman Catholic Church and the Los Angeles Unified School District reacted with outrage to an attempt by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez to reduce the protections given to minor victims of sexual predators in California.
According to a breaking report by Norma Ribeiro on Univision, the Archbishop's attorneys filed a petition on October 19th with the California Supreme Court asking them to "de-publish" the recent California Court of Appeals of decision in Sinai M. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, Case No. B253983, 2015 CalApp. LEXIS 814.
This highly publicized case condemned and overturned a trial court decision that allowed LAUSD to escape liability by blaming a thirteen-year-old girl for having sex with her 28-year-old math teacher. The LAUSD attorneys introduced the girl's sexual history into the trial as part of their "blame the victim strategy." They portrayed the thirteen-year-old victim as a willing partner in her own abuse.
The Court of Appeals stated, "The district's position is as outrageous as it is wrong."
Attorney John Manly, a leading advocate for child sex abuse victims, reacted angrily to the Archbishop's petition, "I find it disturbing that the Los Angeles Archdiocese objects to the higher standard of protection for child sex abuse victims established by the court of appeals in the Sinai case. By seeking to de-publish this important decision, the Archbishop will make children throughout California more vulnerable to sexual abuse by priests, teachers, scoutmasters and other adults who are in a position to prey upon them."
The petition by Archbishop Gomez contradicts recent promises by Pope Francis to hold Bishops accountable for failing to protect children from sexual abuse.
In March 2014 the Pope delivered a homily during a private mass with six victims of sexual abuse by priests in which he said, "…all bishops must carry out their personal ministry with the utmost care in order to help foster the protection of minors, and they will be held accountable."
"Archbishop Gomez must not have been listening to the Pope" said child sex abuse victim's attorney Vince Finaldi. "This blatant attempt to shield the Catholic Church and other institutions from accountability in abuse cases is unconscionable."
For a copy of the petition, please call 323-236-9992.
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.
SOURCE Manly, Stewart & Finaldi