Earlier this year, Ventura County resident Tom Emens called a law firm that represents victims of clergy abuse and asked for help.
Emens had recently met someone who was molested by the same priest at St. Anthony Mary Claret in Anaheim in the ’70s and ’80s. The 42-year-old had grappled with his own trauma for decades, but the weight of another person’s story sparked in Emens a new sense of purpose: to seek justice for what had been done to him and countless others.
On Tuesday, Jeff Anderson & Associates of Minnesota filed a civil suit on behalf of Emens in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The suit calls for 11 California dioceses — all but Stockton — to release names of every clergy member accused of sexual misconduct, as well as private records documenting such abuse.When a reporter asked why he wasn’t seeking monetary damages, Emens, now a marketing coordinator at California State University, Channel Islands, answered with swift conviction.“The truth,” he said, “is far more valuable than any other money could ever be.”
The law firm also released a lengthy report on Tuesday that lists 307 clerics associated with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — all of whom were already known predators — who have been accused of abuse. The report shows that in at least three dozen cases, the accused priests were reassigned to faraway parishes instead of being removed from ministry completely.
The firm said it was unable to confirm the whereabouts of nearly half of the accused clerics.