By Kay Ebeling
A woman contacted Hale in early 2004 with a case similar to two in the Southern California clergy cases, but the window in the statute of limitations closed at midnight January 1, 2004. Hale (pictured at right) decided to get around the statute of limitations by filing suit against the Franciscan Friars of Santa Barbara for being an Ongoing Public Nuisance. (The entire complaint is copy and pasted at the end of the 09.22.08 post at http://cityofangels13.blogspot.com .)
“Defendants, in concert with each other and with the intent to conceal and defraud, conspired and came to a meeting of the minds whereby they would misrepresent, conceal or fail to disclose information relating to the sexual misconduct of the Perpetrator and/or Defendants,” reads the September 22 Complaint.
“Even if it works it’s not going to save every case out there, beyond the SOL window,” Hale said. “This works in the Franciscan context in Santa Barbara because of their extensive history of this conduct.
The key word is ongoing. Because the Friars continue to hide, lie about, and transfer pedophile priests, the cover-ups are ongoing. Since children are still being raped by Franciscans friars who’ve been transferred from Santa Barbara to other cities, the menace to the community is ongoing, no statute of limitations.
Tim Hale wrote to tell me:
"I actually didn't speak with or meet Mary until November of 2007. I believe the Public Nuisance cause of action does allow Maria's complaint to survive the statute of limitations attacks that are coming, that was not the purpose of the cause of action. The nuisance cause of action precedes by six years the current caselaw the church is now using to attack survivor's lawsuits based on the statute of limitations. I've attached a document we filed yesterday which spells this out in more detail."
City of Angels will post a follow-up along with the church's attempt to change the venue of this EXTREMELY local Santa Barbara public nuisance suit so it can be considered in LA by Judge Emilie Elias with the rest of the LA mess. Update to come.
“We have this huge body of evidence against one specific entity,” Hale said. “Our one law firm has devoted decades to finding evidence against this one province,” Hale continued trying not to get too excited about other cities filing similar suits.
Still I'm thinking Boston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Michigan, Minneapolis, Chicago, all cities with law firms that have accumulated “a huge body of evidence.”
Is there an attorney out there who’ll file a public nuisance against the Chicago Archdiocese in my name?
“It’s going to vary on a case by case basis,” Hale said.
The First Amended Complaint reads:
The “Franciscan corporate practice” of concealing the identities, crimes, and current assignments of these perpetrators ends up enabling and empowering them, so they continue to commit sexual assault on children. The Franciscans “continue to place at risk countless children.”
“For decades the Franciscans have successfully frustrated law enforcement efforts to enforce this compelling state interest, shielding Franciscan perpetrators from criminal prosecution by concealing their crimes and the whereabouts of known perpetrators. Time and again the Franciscans' efforts have helped such criminals escape prosecution through, among other methods, expired criminal statutes of limitation. As a result, very few of these men have been prosecuted, convicted, and forced to register as sex offenders. Thus, the Franciscans have successfully concealed from the public the identities of an unknown number of Franciscan perpetrators.
The entire First Amended Complaint against the Friars as a Public Nuisance is copied at the bottom of this post.
Below is excerpt from Complaint filed last month against the Franciscans of Santa Barbara for not identifying and removing pedophiles immediately, instead allowing 60 (SIXTY!) children to be raped in this idyllic beach town north of L.A.