John Paul II Pedophile Priests that have gone to Trial
Here is a list of some of the most notorious pedophile priests of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Their portraits can be seen in this link. While Benedict XVI and his handsome gay? private secretary are wallowing in self-glory in the Vatican, they couldn't give a hoot to these cases in America.
Sexual Abuse Cases That Have Gone to Trial
Last Updated June 27, 2007
Thousands of civil suits have been filed in the United States relating to alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests, but very few have gone to trial.
BishopAccountability.org has reviewed the evidence and documented 33 civil suits that
have been tried since the mid-1980s.
Short statutes of limitations in many states and delaying tactics by dioceses have combined to severely limit the number of civil suits that could come to trial. The small number of trials among eligible cases reflects the bishops' fear that juries might award significant compensatory or punitive damages, as in the landmark 1997 Kos trial, and even more, their abiding concern that information might become public in a trial, either by release of documents or through testimony by the bishop himself or his managers.
Whenever dioceses have filed for bankruptcy, upcoming civil trials have been a factor in the decision, and one case was settled after weeks of trial, shortly before a retired bishop was to take the stand (cf. the Freitas case). Legal scholar Marci Hamilton suggests that a trial offers survivors a chance for vindication within their community and places the responsibility for the abuse "exactly where it belongs." This outcome is one that the bishops have avoided wherever possible.
The table below lists the trials in order by the date on which a verdict was rendered or the trial was otherwise concluded. Clicking the accused priest's name in the list below will bring you directly to the table entry on that trial. Please let us know of other trials that should be included on this list, if possible with a link to a news story describing the verdict.
| Adamson | Ball | Bierman | Brett | Buser | Cramer | Feeney | Freitas | Gauthe | Gummersbach | Herek | Janssen | Kapoun | Kos | Lang | Leifeld | Luddy | Lutz | Maguire | Maiello | O'Grady | Ponciroli | Pritchard 1 | Pritchard 2 | Provost | Smith | Sprauer | Swearingen | Teczar | Vosen | Willis | Wolf |
Date Priest Diocese Source Comment
1986 and 1987 Rev. Gilbert Gauthe
Lafayette LA • Victims of "Fathers" Lose Religious Faith, by Carl M. Cannon, San Jose Mercury News (12/30/87)
• Ex-Altar Boy Found Courage to Air Priest's Betrayal, by Dan Moffett, Palm Beach Post (6/10/98)
• The Tragedy of Gilbert Gauthe, by Jason Berry, Times of Acadiana (5/23/85)
In the 1986 trial, the diocese admitted liability and a family was awarded $1.25M in damages. In the 1987 trial, a jury awarded $1.8M to a former altar boy. The diocese settled other cases and Gauthe was criminally convicted.
1989 Rev. William N. Cramer Paterson NJ • Rodimer, Abuser Priest Meet, by John Chadwick, The Record (6/19/02) Cramer pled guilty in 1988 to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was later found liable in a civil trial, and fined about $75,000 in damages and interest.
12/7/90 Rev. Thomas P. Adamson
Winona and St. Paul-Minneapolis MN • “Don't Tell Anybody ... You'll Get in Trouble, and So Will I,” by Bob Ehlert, Star Tribune (12/11/88)
• The Sins of the Fathers, by Jason Berry, Chicago Reader (5/24/91)
• Ex-Altar Boy Found Courage to Air Priest's Betrayal, by Dan Moffett, Palm Beach Post (6/10/88) A jury awarded the plaintiff $3.55M, of which $2.7M was in punitive damages. The award was later reduced to $1M.
4/21/94 Rev. Francis Luddy Altoona-Johnstown PA • Jury Awards $1.5 Million to Priest's Accuser, by Tom Gibb, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (4/22/94)
• Church Not Liable for Molestation, by Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (9/6/96)
• Court Puts Diocese Back into Molestation Case, by Tom Gibb, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (11/25/99)
• Verdict Against Diocese Stands, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (1/26/00)
• Mixed Ruling in Luddy Case, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (10/26/00)
• Court Won't Hear Molestation Appeal, by Tom Gibb, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (10/4/01)
• Diocese Finally Pays Victim of Sex Abuse, by Tom Gibb, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (10/17/01)
• $1 Million Penalty Is at Issue in Church Suit, by Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philadelphia Inquirer (9/10/02)
• Priest-Abuse Damages Suit Goes Ahead, by Susan Evans, Tribune-Democrat (10/23/03)
• Supreme Court Sends Altoona Abuse Case Back to Lower Court, Associated Press (3/23/05)
• Pennsylvania Supreme Court Says Plaintiff Can Get Punitives for Negligent Supervision, Lawyers Weekly (4/11/05)
• Diocese Ordered to Pay $1.7 Million in Damages to Man Abused in 1970s, by Joe Mandak, Associated Press (3/24/06)
• Diocese Won't Appeal Damages, York Dispatch (4/17/06)
• Lawsuit Interest Reduced in Priest Sexual Abuse Case, by Phil Ray, Altoona Mirror (10/6/06)
A jury ordered the diocese and Bishop Hogan to pay $1.28M, Luddy to pay $236,840, and the parish to pay $58,900 (total $1,575,740). Verdict overturned 9/5/96 by state superior court. On 11/24/99 the state Supreme Court put the diocese back in the case, and affirmed its decision on 1/24/00. On 10/25/00 the Superior Court ruled against punitive damages but let stand $869K in other awards, including a $50K punitive judgment against the priest, the Rev. Francis Luddy, $519K in compensatory damages against Luddy and the diocese, and delay damages that totaled >$300K as of 1994. On 9/28/01 the state Supreme Court refused to review the awards, and on 3/22/05 it ruled that the Superior Court erred in disallowing punitive damages. On 3/22/06 the Superior Court ruled that the diocese must pay $1.7M in punitive damages.
6/29/94 Rev. Robert Lutz
Chicago IL • The Sins of the Fathers, by Jason Berry, Chicago Reader (5/24/91)
• Boy Says Abuse; Priest, Ex-Nun Say Slander, by Harvey Berkman, Chicago Lawyer (1/94)
• Jury Clears Priest, Principal, by Andrew Fegelman, Chicago Tribune (6/30/94)
• State Appellate Court Decision (6/25/96)
Jury found in favor of the defendant priest. Affirmed on appeal 5/10/96.
1995 Rev. Earl Bierman
Covington • $5.2m Church Deal May Be Just Beginning, by Kevin Eigelbach, Cincinnati Post (10/13/03) A jury ordered the diocese to pay $737K to a man Bierman abused in the 1970s.
3/28/95 Revs. James Buser, Gale Leifeld, and Jim Wolf Milwaukee WI • Jury Rejects Sex Abuse Suit Against Capuchin Priests, by Jim Schaefer, Detroit Free Press (3/29/95) Jury found against the plaintiff on statute of limitations grounds.
1/29/96 Rev. Ronald Provost
Worcester MA • Jury Clears Harrington and Diocese, by Gary V. Murray, Telegram & Gazette (1/30/96)
• Unholy Acts, by Paul Wilkes, New Yorker (6/7/93) In porn case, jury found that Provost's negligence contributed to boy's emotional distress, but also found that diocese was not negligent. Boy was not awarded damages because "physical manifestation" of his distress was not demonstrated. Provost had previously been convicted in a criminal trial.
2/7/96 Rev. Robert Kapoun St. Paul-Minneapolis MN • Man Wins $550,000 in Sex Assault by Priest, by Chip Johnson
Saint Paul Pioneer Press (2/8/96)
• Archdiocese Fined More Than $1 Million, by Leslie Wirpsa, NCR (3/1/96)
• Court Dismisses $ 1 Million Abuse Suit, by Margaret Zack, Star Tribune (5/28/97)
• Archdiocese, Priest Unlikely to Collect Legal Costs in Child Molestation Case, by Margaret Zack, Star Tribune (6/10/97)
• Lawyer: Archdiocese Not Billing, by Clark Morphew, Saint Paul Pioneer Press (6/13/97)
• Latest Polka Padre Ruling Hits Sour Note with Juror, by Doug Grow, Star Tribune (6/18/97)
Jury awarded plaintiff $550K in compensatory damages, and on 2/13/96 awarded $600K in punitive damages. On 5/27/97 the state appeals court overturned both awards on SOL grounds. The archdiocese filed a motion to recover costs from the plaintiff, then disavowed the effort.
3/25/96 Rev. Robert Kapoun St. Paul-Minneapolis MN • Archdiocese Admits Liablity for Abuse by 'Polka Padre', by Margaret Zack, Star Tribune (3/20/96)
• No Damages in Priestly Abuse, by Margaret Zack, Star Tribune (3/26/96)
After the archdiocese in its opening statement accepted responsibility for its handling of Kapoun, the jury found that the plaintiff had past and future therapy costs of $100K but on SOL grounds did not award damages.
4/4/96 Msgr. Cordell J. Lang Mobile AL • Jury Clears Priest: Man's Lawyers Vow to Appeal Verdict in Lawsuit over Alleged Sexual Abuse, by Jean Lakeman Helms, Mobile Register (4/5/96) Jury found for the priest defendant. Affirmed on appeal 5/2/97.
4/97 Rev. Felix H. Maguire Hartford CT • A Predatory Trail, a Futile Pursuit, by Edmund H. Mahony and Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant (8/11/02) Jury awarded plaintiff $262,803 in a trial closed to the public by Judge Linda Lager. Amount was later reduced as part of confidential settlement to keep Maguire from appealing the verdict. Suit was under seal from 1993, shortly after filing, until after verdict.
7/24/97 Rev. Rudy Kos
Dallas TX • Kos Jury Awards $ 119 Million: Diocese Found Grossly Negligent, by Ed Housewright and Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News (7/25/97)
• 3 Kos Plaintiffs Accept $7.5 Million Settlement, by Ed Housewright and Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News (3/6/98)
• Diocese, Kos Victims Settle for $ 23.4 Million, by Ed Housewright and Brooks Egerton, Dallas Morning News (7/11/98)
Jury awarded 11 plaintiffs $119.6M, of which $18M was in punitive damages against the diocese. To avoid appeals, 3 plaintiffs settled for $7.5M on 3/4/98, and 8 plaintiffs settled for $23.4M as announced on 7/10/98, reducing the original award to $30.9M.
8/26/97 Rev. Laurence F.X. Brett
Bridgeport CT • Diocese Took Decades to Suspend Molester, by Gerald Renner, Hartford Courant (8/13/97)
• Jury Awards $ 750,000 in Priest Misconduct Case, by Denise Lavoie, Associated Press (8/27/97) Jury awarded plaintiff $750K and deemed him eligible for punitive damages, limited to legal fees and associated costs. The jury found the diocese breached its duty to the plaintiff when it hid complaints and failed to investigate.
7/16/98 Rev. Oliver O'Grady
Stockton CA • Jury Awards $30 Million to Brothers Molested by Priest, Associated Press (7/17/98)
• Holy Hypocrite, by Ron Russell, New Times (5/16/02)
• L.A. Cardinal's Role Outrages Abuse Victims, by Don Lattin, San Francisco Chronicle (4/19/02) Jury awarded 2 plaintiffs $24M in punitive damages and $6M in compensatory damages. Later reduced by judge to $8M punitive and $5M compensatory. In 1999, plaintiffs settled for $7.65M. O'Grady had been criminally convicted in 1994 of molesting the plaintiffs.
3/1/99 Rev. James Gummersbach St. Louis MO • Jury Hits Archdiocese with $1.2 Million Verdict, by Tim Bryant, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (3/2/99)
• Court Overturns Jury Award to Man Who Claimed a St. Louis Priest Abused Him, by William C. Lhotka, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (3/29/00) Jury awarded plaintiff $498,280 in compensatory damages and the same amount in punitive damages, and awarded his wife $200K for damages to the couple's marriage. Appeals court overturned the verdict on statute of limitations grounds on 3/28/00.
6/14/02 Rev. Daniel Herek
Omaha NE • Jury Awards $800,000 for Abuse, by Joseph Morton, Omaha World Herald (6/15/02) Jury awarded $750 to the plaintiff and $50K to his mother. The archdiocese admitted negligence shortly before the trial began. In 1998 Herek had been convicted of sexual assault on a child and manufacturing child pornography.
10/3/02 Rev. Thomas Teczar
Worcester MA • Jury Rules Teczar Committed Abuse, by Kathleen A. Shaw, Telegram & Gazette (10/4/02) The jury ruled that Teczar committed "reckless infliction of emotional distress" on the plaintiff and caused him harm, but judged that it was not intentional, and did not award damages, apparently because the connection between distress and harm was not established.
10/15/03 Rev. Edward L. Ball San Bernardino CA • Judge Awards Brothers $26 Million in Priest Sex Abuse Case, NBC 4 (10/17/03)
• Priest Fined Millions in Molestation Case, by Tim Grenda, Press Enterprise (10/17/03)
• Diocese to Pay $2.1M in Sex Suit, by Chris T. Nguyen, San Bernardino County Sun (6/30/03)
When Ball failed to show up for the scheduled start of his trial, the judge presided over a one-day hearing, heard testimony from the victims, and awarded $23M total to two brothers. A $4.2M settlement between the brothers, the diocese, and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart had been announced 6/30/03. Ball pled guilty to abusing the brothers in 1999.
11/24/03 Rev. Robert Freitas Oakland CA • Ex-Priest Pleads Guilty to Sex Charge, by Yomi S. Wronge, San Jose Mercury News (12/7/02)
• Calif. Priest, Victim Agree to $16 Million Settlement in Molestation Case, by Terence Chea, Associated Press (11/25/03)
• Former Priest, Diocese Settle Abuse Suit, by Robert Airoldi, Oakland Tribune (11/25/03)
• Diocese, Priest Agree to Pay Man in Abuse Case, by Dana Hull, San Jose Mercury News (11/26/03)
• Priest Owes Molestation Victim Millions, KGO (10/28/04) After two weeks of trial and just before former bishop Cummins was scheduled to testify, the diocese settled with the plaintiff for $1M plus $50K for counseling. Freitas agreed to pay the plaintiff $16M. On 12/6/02 Freitas had pled guilty to abusing the plaintiff. Part of the law used to prosecute Freitas was judged unconstitutional in the 2003 Stogner decision.
3/24/05 Rev. Joseph Pritchard Oakland CA • Jury Awards Victim $437,000 from San Jose Priest's Sex Abuse, by Lisa Leff,
Associated Press (3/25/05)
The San Francisco archdiocese was ordered by a jury to pay $437K to the plaintiff.
4/15/05 Rev. Robert Ponciroli Oakland CA • Update: Jury Finds Oakland Diocese Negligent in Sexual Abuse Case, KPIX (4/15/05) A jury awarded two brothers a total of $1.93 million in compensatory and punitive damages. One brother was awarded $875,000 in compensatory and $875,000 in punitive damages, and the other brother was awarded $180,000 in compensatory damages.
4/20/05 Rev. Joseph Pritchard Oakland CA $6 Million Verdict for 4 Victims in Church Trial,
by Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle (4/21/05) The jury awarded a total of $5.954M to four victims: $1.58M to John Salberg; $1.581M to Kenneth Archambault; $1.323M to John Doe; and $1.47M to Jane Doe.
5/9/05 Rev. James Janssen
Davenport IA • Jury Awards Janssen Nephew $1.9M, by Todd Ruger , Quad-City Times (5/9/05) An 8-member jury unanimously awarded the plaintiff $632K in punitive damages and $1.26M in other damages, for a total of $1,892,000.
10/7/05 Rev. Gerald Vosen Madison WI • Priest's Accuser Tearful on Stand, by Mike DuPre, Janesville Gazette (8/3/05)
• Case Report for Gerald Vosen v. John Doe (10/7/05) Jury found for the defendant in a defamation suit brought by the accused priest.
9/18/06 Msgr. Thomas J. Feeney Davenport IA • Diocese Must Pay $1.5M to Abuse Victim, by Dustin Lemmon, Quad-City Times (9/19/06) A jury awarded the plaintiff $1,536,800, more than double the $744,000 requested in closing arguments.
12/20/06 Rev. Edward Swearingen
Fresno CA • Priest Molest Civil Case Ends in Mistrial, by Pablo Lopez, Fresno Bee (12/21/06)
• Priest's Case to Be Settled: Abuse Trial That Ended in Toss-Up to Go into Private Binding Arbitration, by Chris Collins, Fresno Bee (5/5/07) The jury voted 9-3 that Swearingen molested the plaintiff, but the judge declared a mistrial when the jury voted by only 7-5 to clear the diocese of wrongdoing. On 5/4/07 private binding arbitration was agreed to, instead of a second trial.
3/30/07 Rev. Edward J. Smith
Wilmington DE/MD • Archmere Grad Gets $41 Million in Abuse Suit, by Beth Miller, News Journal (3/31/07) The jury awarded $41M to the plaintiff, $6 million in compensatory damages and $35 million in punitive damages. Smith is the sole defendant, but the plaintiff hopes to bring the school and the diocese back into the case.
5/16/07 Rev. Michael Sprauer
Portland OR • Jury Rules Priest Sexually Abused 2 Boys, by Alan Gustafson, Statesman Journal (5/17/07) The jury awarded $695K to one plaintiff and $690K to another, for a total of $1,385,000. Sprauer was cleared of accusations that he abused a third man.
5/18/07 Matthew Maiello, youth minister Rockville Centre NY • 2 Raped by Minister Are Awarded $11.45 Million, by Bruce Lambert, NY Times (5/19/07)
The jury awarded the two plaintiffs $11.45M: $2.5 million to each victim for injuries and suffering to date, as well as $250,000 annually to the woman for the next 12 years, and $115,000 annually to the young man for the next 30 years. Her total would be $5.5 million, and his would be $5.95 million. The jury attributed 70 percent of the blame to Maiello, who did not contest the suit and has few assets. Maiello pled guilty in 2003 to raping and sodomizing four minors, including the two who sued. He served two years in prison.
6/25/07 Rev. Alfred Willis
Burlington VT • Church Child Molestation Case Goes to Trial Today, by Sam Hemingway,
Burlington Free Press (6/20/07)
Judge declared a mistrial because of the questions diocesan attorneys posed to the plaintiff.