California Child Sexual Assault Attorneys

Two clergy child sex abuse victims file early lawsuit in Sacramento

It’s one of the first of many to be filed thanks to a new state law

WHAT:

At a news conference, a survivor of clergy childhood sex abuse who previously (on May 31, 2019- https://www.psyclaw.com/blog/2019/may/child-sex-abuse-survivor-blasts-bishop-sacrament/) held a press conference as John Doe expressing his displeasure over the handling of his case by the Sacramento Diocese will

--publicly identify himself and announce the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of himself and another survivor following Governor Newsom signing Assembly Bill 218 on October 13, 2019

-- thank Assemblyperson Lorena Gonzalez and Governor Gavin Newsom and for standing with survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

-- detail his own interactions with the diocese and caution other victims of clergy childhood sexual assault against trusting the diocese and waiving their rights to sue by accepting compensation from the diocese’s Victim Compensation Program.

-- urge others to not suffer in silence as he has done for so many years and to file reports with Attorney General Becerra if they are aware of any cover ups of misconduct by Mistretta.

https://oag.ca.gov/clergyabuse

It’s among the first of such suits to be filed under a just-signed California law that gives potentially thousands of childhood sexual abuse victims (regardless of their age) three years (January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022) to sue those who committed and concealed childhood sexual abuse.

WHEN / WHERE:

TOMORROW, Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 2:00 p.m.

Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D., 601 University Avenue, Suite 230, Sacramento, CA 95825

WHO:

- Michael Thomas, a plaintiff and survivor of clergy childhood sexual abuse by Monsignor Vito Mistretta

- Dr. Joseph C. George, attorney for survivor of childhood sexual abuse

WHY:

Msgr. Mistretta was initially listed on April 30, 2019 on the official Sacramento Diocese’s ‘credibly accused clerics’ list for at least two alleged crimes - reportedly abusing a boy in 1989 and a second, separate abuse allegation made to church officials last year. Sacramento Diocese’s list has now been updated to reflect that there are four known male victims of Msgr. Mistretta.

https://fox40.com/2018/12/06/man-alleges-abuse-by-two-sacramento-priests/

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Sacramento/2019_04_30_Sacramento_List_of_Accused_Priests.pdf#page=18

Michael Thomas, who was abused as a child at Holy Family Catholic church, in Citrus Heights in 1969, and John Doe 165, who was abused as a child at Holy Family Catholic School in 1979, filed one of the first lawsuits following Governor Gavin Newsom’s October 13 signing of Assembly Bill 218. This new measure gives survivors of childhood sexual assault, regardless of their age, a three-year “window” to bring a civil lawsuit against any perpetrator and employer or third party that was aware of misconduct that created a risk of childhood sexual assault.

The new law also extends the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual assault, giving survivors more time to file civil lawsuits: up to their 40th birthday (used to be 26th birthday), or within five years (used to be three years) from the date of discovery of an adult psychological injury caused by the childhood sexual assault.

“With this historic new state law, survivors, like these brave men can now seek answers, obtain justice and expose once trusted adults who sexually assaulted the innocent children and ignored or hid such crimes,” said Dr. George.

According to a church document written after his death, Monsignor Mistretta “was a very strong personality” and “For some, he was held in great love and esteem and for others he was feared.”

https://www.scd.org/sites/default/files/2017-06/Vol_5_No_21_Mistretta_Msgr_Vito.pdf

After his ordination in Sacramento in 1942, Msgr. Mistretta was assigned to Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento for four years and then to St. Rose Parish in Roseville for three years. In 1947, Fr. Mistretta started Holy Family parish and school in Citrus Heights where he worked for 41 years.

Msgr. Mistretta “visited the parish school regularly” and it became “the largest Catholic grammar school in the diocese with a student body of some 700 students.” https://www.scd.org/sites/default/files/2017-06/Vol_5_No_21_Mistretta_Msgr_Vito.pdf

When Msgr. Mistretta retired in 1990, he moved to his own home within blocks of his church and celebrated mass “until the bishop asked him to discontinue” this practice. (No reason has been given for this unusual decision.) The Diocese publicly disclosed that it first received credible allegations of sexual abuse against Msgr. Mistretta in 1993. The diocese executed a confidential settlement with one of the Msg. Mistretta’s victims in 2001. Bishop Soto presided at Msgr. Mistretta’s funeral.

Msgr. Mistretta was a native of Brooklyn, New York.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Sacramento/2019_04_30_Sacramento_List_of_Accused_Priests.pdf#page=18

https://www.scd.org/sites/default/files/2017-06/Vol_5_No_21_Mistretta_Msgr_Vito.pdf

CONTACT:

Dr. Joseph C. George 916.802.7949 cell, 916.641.7300 office, jcg@psyclaw.com,

Marcar A. Pascual 707.342.4722 cell, 916.641.7300 office, maricar@psyclaw.com

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