California Catholic Church Sex Abuser Lists and Database
Before enacting the California Child Victims Act into law on Jan. 1, 2020, the California Legislature in 2003 opened a one-year retroactive window for survivors of child sexual abuse to file civil claims against a perpetrator and the institution that covered up the abuse.
Lawsuits followed, including a 2004 settlement of about $100 million to 87 victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Orange in Southern California. In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay a record $660 million settlement to roughly 500 people who had been abused by Roman Catholic priests as far back as the 1940s.
Sadly, the California diocese sexual abuse and settlements continued. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed in 2019, for instance, to pay $8 million to a young woman who said a coach at her Catholic high school had abused her in 2016 when she was 15, according to CNN. The archdiocese had received written complaints that the coach, Juan Ivan Barajas, had “inappropriate relationships” with students, but he remained employed until his arrest and conviction in 2017.
How Church Institutions Hide Abuse
In California, the Catholic Church often moved abusive clerics from parish to parish to avoid public detection and legal action. News reports also show a lack of reporting up the chain of authority or to outside investigators.
The media has brought attention to such attempts to cover up abuse. A 2013 Los Angeles Times story detailed memos written in the mid-1980s about “a concerted effort by officials in the nation’s largest Catholic diocese to shield abusers from police.” This included preventing accused priests from seeing therapists who might alert authorities and reassigning the priests out-of-state. This all contributed to how California church hid sexual abuse, as well as California church sexual abuse lack of reporting.
California Clergy Abuse Archives
Below are just a few incidents of Catholic Church sex abuse in California, based on records compiled by BishopAccountability.org. The Massachusetts-based nonprofit corporation has a searchable database of U.S. Roman Catholic priests, brothers, deacons, nuns, and seminarians publicly accused of sexually abusing children or possessing child pornography. There are more than 470 in California. Now, you can see the California Catholic church sex abuser lists and database.
To see a list of accused priests in California, click on your local diocese here.
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
BishopAccountability.org has information on roughly 350 people accused in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles alone. They include:
- Michael Stephen Baker, ordained in 1974, laicized in 2000, and included in a $60 million settlement in 2006 involving 22 priests. He has as many as 23 accusers, including a boy who was 6 to 10 years old from 1993 to 1997. Baker received a 10-year prison sentence for sexually abusing three boys.
- Peter E. Garcia, ordained in 1966 and laicized in 2006. Personnel files show that he was accused of abusing at least 12 minors from 1961 through 1983, often targeting boys who were illegal immigrants and threatening to have them deported if they told. At least one claim against Garcia was settled in 2007. He died in 2009.
- Roderic M. Guerrini, ordained in 1963 in Ireland. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1975. In 1992, a woman told the archdiocese that he had sexually abused her at Santa Clara in Oxnard when she was 15. Her two sisters said he abused them as well. He was referred to a therapist and allowed to remain in the ministry. He retired in 2002 after allegations became public. He was included in claims settled in 2007.
- George Neville Rucker, ordained in 1946 and laicized in 2008. Police first investigated him in 1967. They arrested him in 2002 on charges involving 12 girls, which were later dropped. He has roughly 40 known accusers. Some civil claims against him were settled in 2006 and 2007.
Archdiocese of San Francisco
BishopAccountability.org has information on 38 people accused in this diocese, including:
- Peter Gomez Armstrong, ordained in 1954 and a former chaplain of the San Francisco 49ers. He had retired when a teenage Marin County boy accused Armstrong of having “improper conduct” with him from 1992 to 2002. Armstrong died in 2009.
- Salvatore Billante, now a registered sex offender. He abused as many as 25 boys from 1969 to 1989 and received eight years in prison.
- Austin Peter Keegan, ordained in 1962. He also worked in the Santa Rosa diocese from 1976 through 1981. Indicted on charges of molesting two boys, ages 10 and 14, in the late 1960s, he fled to Mexico and was later arrested. The charges against him were dropped because of a 2003 Supreme Court ruling. But officials say he may have abused at least 80 children.
Diocese of Fresno
BishopAccountability.org has information on 22 people accused in this diocese, including:
- James Collins, ordained in 1939. He worked at St. Mary’s Church in Buttonwillow, California, as well as churches in Avenal and Lemoore. In 2006, the diocese settled a lawsuit for $875,000 involving a woman who said Collins had abused her for five years in the 1960s.
- Miguel Flores, ordained in 1994 in Bolivia and arrived in the diocese from Mexico in 1999. He was acquitted in 2002 on three counts of forcible rape and other charges involving a 16-year-old girl. But his case was reopened in 2019 because of new information. He was placed on leave in 2019 and sued in 2020 under the Child Victims Act.
- Robert Gamel, ordained in 1990. Police investigated him for internet-related sex crimes involving at least one teenage boy. He pleaded no contest in 2016 to possessing child pornography and received 11 months in jail, plus probation. In 2017, he was arrested again on possession of child pornography, pleaded no contest, and received four years in prison.
Questions About Reporting Childhood Sex Abuse by the California Catholic Church? We Can Help.
The list of all California church priests accused of sexual abuse is extremely long. However, the Marcowitz Law Firm has extensive experience investigating these cases and demanding justice for survivors. We have done in-depth research into the California church predator priest list and have tracked clergy throughout the state.
Contact A Compassionate Lawyer About Your Case
At The Marcowitz Law Firm, we offer confidential representation for individuals who were abused as a child in California. If you or a loved one has suffered from this form of abuse and wish to file a claim, we’re here to help explain your options and answer any questions. Please call us at (833) LAW.4040 or contact us online. The consultation is free.