Sex-Abuse Cases against Diocese Win Postponement until Next Year

By Mark Sauer
July 20, 2006

Those saying they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests will have to wait a bit longer for their day in court after a Superior Court judge yesterday postponed trials of lawsuits against the Diocese of San Diego.

Judge John S. Einhorn granted a request by attorneys representing Bishop Robert Brom and various local parishes to delay the trial date from November to mid-January 2007.

The defendants' argument that they did not have enough time to conduct depositions and discovery, and otherwise prepare for trial, between now and November had merit, Einhorn ruled.

The five cases released for trial are among 155 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests at churches in San Diego, Imperial and San Bernardino counties. The incidents date back decades.

Most of the cases were filed three years ago and have languished in mediation after being combined with about 450 similar suits against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Frustrated by the lack of progress in mediation, the Los Angeles Superior Court judge overseeing all of the lawsuits put 10 cases on a fast track toward trial, five in L.A. and five in San Diego. It is expected that verdicts in some or all of these cases will spur those remaining to settle.

Nationwide, the Catholic Church has so far paid out an estimated $1.5 billion in jury verdicts and settlements to victims of clergy abuse since the scandal broke more than four years ago.

Einhorn, who has been assigned to hear four of the five San Diego cases released for trial, said jury selection in the first case will begin Jan. 17, in the main courthouse in downtown San Diego.

Mark Sauer: (619) 293-2227;


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