Catholic priest sexual abuse survivor suing Oakland Diocese and East Bay churches

Oakland priest sexual abuse

Title: Catholic priest sexual abuse survivor suing Oakland Diocese and East Bay churches

Author: Joseph Geha

Publisher: The Mercury News/ Bay Area News Group

Date: 26MAY2020

Complaint alleges diocese, churches were negligent about “predator priests”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland and two East Bay churches are the target of a lawsuit by a young man who was sexually abused by a priest when he was a child, his attorney said Tuesday.

In a complaint recently filed in Alameda County Superior Court, the victim seeks unspecified damages against the the Diocese, St. John’s Catholic Church in San Lorenzo, and Corpus Christi Church in Fremont, accusing them of negligence in not protecting children like him from “predator priests.”

The complaint also includes new details about the abuse the man, referred to as John Doe in the complaint for privacy, said he experienced when he was 14 and 15 at the hands of Hector David Mendoza-Vela, also known as the Rev. David Mendoza-Vela, 43, who worked at both churches.

“Our allegation is that the church had many opportunities to prevent this from happening, and once it started happening, to end it,” John Winer, the victim’s attorney said about the abuse in an interview Tuesday.

In an interview with this news organization, the victim said Tuesday that Mendoza-Vela’s actions caused him suicidal thoughts and actions, trauma, and have shaken his faith in God.

Mendoza-Vela initially was charged by authorities last year with 30 counts of sexual abuse against the victim over the span of 18 months between 2016 and 2017. However, he later accepted a deal with prosecutors, pleading no contest to five counts of of lewd or lascivious acts on a child age 14 or 15, and was sentenced in September to four years and eight months in prison.

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