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Tony De Marco

Recent sex abuse and cover-up cases against the Irwindale Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District show the extent of the problem of child sexual abuse in Southern California.

By:Anthony DeMarco

In Irwindale, a now-convicted former police officer took girls in the Explorer program on extended and unsupervised ride-alongs, where he sexually abused them in his squad car. There was also a pervasive “wink and nod” culture, where other officers knew about the risk and did nothing.

Think about the victim for a moment. She’s young. She wants to be a police officer. She gets a spot in the Explorer program—with its tight, military-like culture—and then she is sexually abused by her superior … who a a cop. It’s the dictionary definition of abuse of power.

The LAUSD is much the same. Recent sex abuse and cover-up cases across the district show that teachers—who have been protected for years by complacent administrators and complicated laws and union regulations—have used their power to abuse and destroy students in their care.

Fortunately, public awareness is changing. And with this awareness come changes in how the laws and the courts deal with these kinds of crimes. More victims are coming forward to expose their abusers and stop the cycle. Cops and teachers should be pillars of society, not predators.

Visiting Columbian priest arrested in Diocese of Stockton

By: Sarah Odegaard

We are once again saddened and alarmed to learn of the news of the arrest of a visiting priest from Colombia working in the Diocese of Stockton for child sexual abuse. Time will tell what was known of Rev. Guarin-Sosa’s history and safety in working with children. What is known to us already is that numerous priests have been transferred globally with the aid of the catholic hierarchy after being credibly accused of abusing children. Fr. Nicolas Aguilar is just one example.

Lindner to testifyAguilar abused kids in Mexico and then was shipped to Los Angeles, where he abused at least 26 other kids, before being sent back to Mexico. There, he disappeared and continues to evade law enforcement and justice.

We represent many survivors who were sexually abused by Fr. Aguilar as children, so we are sadly familiar with the pattern and practice of the international movement of priests with dangerous tendencies around children. In the case of Rev. Guarin-Sosa, the public and the courts must hold the Diocese of Stockton accountable for a full disclosure of Guarin-Sosa’s background and history. We encourage any children and families who suffered at the hands of Fr. Guarin-Sosa to report to law enforcement.

The LA Document Disclosure and Hierarch Resignations

By: Jeff Anderson

While better late than never as the saying goes, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles today continued to preserve its own reputation at all costs. Simultaneous to releasing 12,000 damning documents that illustrate decades of concealment, cover up and deliberate, reckless disregard for the safety of children in the Archdiocese, the Archdiocese made public the resignation of Bishop Curry and Cardinal Mahony from any public ministry. After fighting in court against the release of these documents for over six years, it is incredibly disingenuous of the Archdiocese to now make news of the resignation of these two officials. The resignations are an empty gesture, a hollow attempt to right decades of horrific wrongs by these two hierarchs and many others.

In the end, survivors have triumphed. What is finally made public this evening by court order, as a provision of the 2007 settlement, is a long time coming for the survivors, their families and those survivors who have yet to come forward. 12,000 documents, encompassing the secret files on all of the credibly accused priests within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, these documents expose the truth; they unveil a concerted conspiracy to deny, minimize and conceal, to preserve the reputation of the Archdiocese over the safety of children at all costs. Although today the Archdiocese's shameless attempts to save face have not changed, what has changed is the scope of public knowledge regarding the appalling practices of this Archdiocese in the handling of dangerous predators among its ranks. The released files lay bare the festering flesh of this Archdiocese for all the world to critique, a momentous day for survivors indeed.

Kicking and Screaming: Powerful Organizations Fight Disclosure; Courts Favor it

By: Jeff Anderson

Once again, our most trusted and most powerful religious and social institutions are fighting to keep their secrets and their sins safe from disclosure. Luckily, courts continue to recognize how important the exposure of secrets is to accountability and child protection.

On Monday, California Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias ordered the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release the names of priests and church officials contained in the Archdiocese’s internal records on the sexual abuse of children. The records were StackofBooks.jpgoriginally ordered to be released as part of a groundbreaking $660 million settlement between the Archdiocese and survivors in 2007. Since that time, the Archdiocese has fought tooth and nail to release the files (which include abuse reports, church memos, and letters to and from the Vatican) in redacted form to protect the anonymity of abuser priests and those church leaders who protected them.

The release of the Archdiocese’s files in unredacted form is a major victory for survivors, who no doubt agree with Judge Elias, who spoke publically about the release, saying “Don’t you think the public has a right to know?”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the California Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America must provide decades of files detailing sexual abuse allegations as part of discovery in an ongoing lawsuit. The BSA maintains that the files are not relevant to the lawsuit, while the lawsuit alleges that prior to the plaintiff’s 2007 sexual abuse, the BSA concealed knowledge of sexual abuse in scouting. The files will not immediately be public due to a protective order in the case.

Despite the best efforts of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the BSA to protect their knowledge of child predators, the public now understands that the plague of child sexual abuse only thrives in such secrecy, and it’s time for the secrets to be revealed. While the battle for accountability wages on, the justice system continues to play a vital role in exposing and combating child predators and those that protect them.

California Supreme Court: Los Angeles Archdiocese Must Turn Over Abuse Files

By: Anthony DeMarco

In a stunning victory for victims of child sexual abuse, the California Supreme Court upheld a lower court's order requiring that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles turn over sex abuse and cover-up files about 25 known offending priests.

The files were a part of the 2007, $660 million settlement with more than 500 alleged victims of child sexual abuse by LA Archdiocese employees and volunteers.

The decision , was the last step in the Archdiocese's long legal battle to keep priest files secret. In Orange County, diocese officials made public abuse and cover-up files on a majority of offending priests and employees less than 5 months after a 2005 settlement with 97 victims.

Evidence in these files are crucial to law enforcement, who can use information to put predators behind bars. For victims, these files are tremendously important to the healing process. When the truth is revealed, victims who were silenced most of their lives are validated. In addition, exposing abuse and cover-up, helps ensure that what happened to them will not happen to another child. Finally, men and women who covered up for abusers will be made publicly accountable.

Hopefully, many victims of abuse in Los Angeles will get a great measure of healing from yesterday's decision.

The 25 priests whose files must be turned over include:

1. Michael Buckley

2. Santiago Tamayo

3. Kevin Barmasse

4. Angel Cruces

5. Donald Patrick Roemer

6. Peter Garcia

7. Cristobal Garcia

8. Lawrence Lovell

9. John Salazar

10. Matthew Sprouffske

11. Lynn Cafoe

12. Michael Baker

13. John Dawson

14. Gerald Fessard

15. Michael Wempe

16. Carlos Rene Rodriguez

17. James Ford

18. Richard Allen Henry

19. Michael Nocita

20. Luis Jaramillo

21. George Neville Rucker

22. George Miller

23. Eleuterio Ramos

24. Benjamin Hawkes

25. Fidencio Silva

Fr. Jerold Lindner, Abuse and Perjury

By: Jeff Anderson

Last week, a jury in San Jose handed down a monumental verdict in the case of William Lynch. Lynch was charged with beating Fr. Jerold Lindner, the man who molested Lynch and his younger brother when they were children. In a unique move, Lynch refused to take a plea deal and instead demanded that he go to trial where the truth about his abuse could be aired in a public courtroom.

When it came time for Lindner to testify about the beating and what lead up to it, he did what all child predators do: he lied and said he never abused Lynch. Lindner later asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, and his testimony was tossed out.

Without the testimony of the victim of the beating, the jury reached a shocking decision: they acquitted Lynch on all charges. Victims' groups are hoping that the San Jose District Attorney charges Lindner with perjury.

Why is this important? Lindner is still a priest, although he lives in a retirement facility on northern California. The Jesuits, who oversee Lindner and the District Attorney concede that Lindner abused Lynch, Lynch's brother and other children—including Lindner's own sister, nieces and a nephew. Some of Lindner's victims may still have criminal and civil rights.

There is still a chance that a victim, especially a victim from Lindner's time at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, may have the evidence help put Lindner behind bars for his crimes. To view Lindner's complete assignment history, visit

Fatal Errors: What the LAUSD could have done and should be doing right now to keep kids safe

By: Anthony DeMarco

The LAUSD and other public schools districts in southern California have been wracked with allegations of sexual abuse. With parents and educators protesting on a daily basis, districts like the LAUSD are in crisis mode. But LAUSD officials still seem to have lost sight of their primary priority: keeping students safe.

What can they do right now to protect the children in their care? I have four simple suggestions:

1) Immediately remove any teacher accused of abuse

When there is an allegation of abuse, a teacher should be temporarily suspended. This gives the police time to investigate the allegations. If the police find that the allegations are not substantiated, then the teacher can be put back on duty. But if the allegations are found viable - even if the crimes are past the statute of limitations, as we saw in the case at Hamilton High - the teacher must remain out of the classroom.

2) Immediately call the police when a teacher is suspected of abuse

It is the obligation of all mandated reporters at every school to contact law enforcement (not the principal) if they suspect abuse. Principals are not investigators. Police are. Let them do their job. Not reporting suspected child sexual abuse to law enforcement is a crime.

3) Immediately inform parents and the community when a teacher is removed on suspicion of abuse

A large part of parents' anger regarding the sex abuse scandal in the LAUSD is due to the fact that parents are learning about allegations against their children's teachers from the media, not the school. School officials must alert parents immediately and urge them to talk to their kids and call the police if they suspect abuse.

4) Properly train teachers and administrators on preventing and reporting abuse, instead of passing rules that add to the confusion

New rules against blindfolding children (required as a part of a science unit on senses) and making butter only confuse children. Instead of teaching educators and children about grooming, signs of abuse, reporting and prevention, the district panicked and took away safe activities that the children like.

The LAUSD needs to clear away the clutter and refocus on their primary goal: educating children in a safe, transparent environment where they will not be victims of predators. Any other priority should be secondary.

Former Orange County Priest Denis Lyons Facing Criminal Trial

By: Jeff Anderson

This week, former Orange County priest Denis Lyons is heading to trial on four criminal counts of lewd acts on a child under 14. According to press reports, the trial has been delayed for more than two years—despite the objections of the Orange County District Attorney's Office, which has been eager to try the case and get justice for victims. The alleged crimes took place at Costa Mesa's St. John the Baptist Parish, which also houses an elementary school.

These criminal charges are only the latest in Lyons' long history of suspicious and predatory behavior. Secret internal church files showed that Orange Diocese officials knew the Irish-born priest had allegations of abuse dating back to the 1970s, but instead of calling the police and helping victims, they sent Lyons to a church-run treatment center for child molesting clerics.

Despite mounting evidence, Lyons remained an active pastor with complete access to children. He was later transferred to St. Edward's Parish in Dana Point, where he worked with John Lenihan, another former Orange County priest arrested for molesting minors. The Orange County Register called the parish "scandal-laden," with at least four former priests arrested for sexually abusing children.

Lyons was finally removed from active ministry in 2002 when victims began to come forward in anticipation of the California Civil Window. The civil window was a one year law—similar to a law in Delaware—that allowed victims of child sexual abuse to seek accountability in the civil courts, no matter when the abuse occurred. These windows have exposed more than 500 predators nationwide and aided law enforcement in dozens of criminal prosecutions.

Soon after his removal in 2002, Lyons was arrested for molesting minors, but the charges were dropped due to the 2003 Stogner Decision.

At least three alleged Lyons victims came forward in 2003 through the California Civil Window. As a result, the Diocese of Orange paid more than $4 million.

Considering Lyons' long and sordid history in Orange County, we believe that there may be many more victims.

Bar Date is set for Irish Christian Brothers Bankruptcy

By: Jeff Anderson

In the bankruptcy case of the Irish Christian Brothers the court has set a deadline of August 1, 2012, for claims to be submitted.

That means that as a result of the Irish Christian Brothers of North America bankruptcy, anyone who was sexually abused by a member of the order may now be able to bring a claim—even if in the past he or she was told they could not. But, the claim must be filed before the August, 1 deadline or survivors will be forever barred at a chance for justice. The bankruptcy judge is requiring the Irish Christian Brothers to notify alumni of their schools about the bankruptcy and provide them information about where the accused perpetrators worked.

The Irish Christian Brothers are located throughout the United States, including states like New York, California, Washington, Hawaii, Illinois, and New Jersey, where they primarily run schools. A number of Brothers have been accused, and some even convicted, of sexual abuse of students at schools where they worked. For instance, Brother Robert Brouillette was convicted on child porn charges and sexual abuse of a student at St. Laurence High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Similarly, three boys accused Brother John Lackie of sexual abuse when they were students at Briscoe Memorial School in Kent, Washington. The boys also alleged abuse by six other Brothers at the school.

Schools in California where Irish Christian Brothers taught include Cantwell High School in Los Angeles and Palma High School in Salinas, near Monterey.

The bankruptcy filing follows a report by Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, which found that schools run by Christian Brothers had serious problems with abuse- physical and sexual, saying “sexual abuse of children in their care had occurred at an unacceptably high level in their institutions.”

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