Lawsuit accuses Tucson priests of sexually abusing minors in southern Arizona

Category: Catholic Sexual Abuse

A third victim has come forward in a federal lawsuit accusing Catholic priests of sexual abuse of minors across southern Arizona in the 1970s and 1980s.

Initially filed in December, the lawsuit claims that the Tucson Diocese and Los Angeles Archdiocese covered up abuse and moved priests around instead of reporting them to law enforcement.

The racketeering lawsuit was filed following a change to the Arizona Child Victims Act, which increases the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse from age 20 to 30 and allowed adults older than 30 to file claims up until Dec. 31, 2020.

Just before the December deadline, hundreds of civil lawsuits were filed in Arizona courts by people who said they suffered abuse as children in Arizona, though the bar for evidence is higher under the revised law.

In February, another victim was added to the amended federal lawsuit that now accuses four priests in the Tucson diocese of sexual abuse of minors in the past.

The suit alleges that these priests are part of an overall pattern of Tucson being a “dumping ground” for sexually abusive priests from St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California.

“By exporting graduates of St. John’s Seminary and its problematic priests to Tucson, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles knowingly exported a pervasive culture of sexual abuse and misconduct to the Diocese of Tucson’s parishioners,” the suit alleges.

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