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Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Diocese

Santa Rosa, CA: (Sep-12-07) A lawsuit was filed against the Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Diocese, alleging that former priest Francisco Xavier Ochoa sexually abused 10 underage parishioners since 1984. The suit was filed in October 2006, five months after Ochoa, 69, former assistant pastor of St. Francis Solano Parish in Sonoma, is believed to have fled to Mexico. The charges claimed that Ochoa admitted some of the sexual impropriety to Bishop Daniel Walsh and other priests in April 2006.

In a settlement reached, the Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Diocese has agreed to a $5 million payout to end the lawsuit. Sources state that Walsh will personally contribute $20,000 in stipends he has earned for his services at weddings and funerals toward the settlement. Walsh admitted wrongdoing and completed a five-month counseling diversion program rather than face criminal charges for failing to timely report to authorities Ochoa's sexual misconduct with an underage boy in his parish in April 2006. It was alleged Ochoa kissed the boy on the lips before the boy strip-teased in his apartment after a Sunday mass in April 2006. Including this settlement, the Diocese has paid nearly $25 million to settle civil suits alleging sexual abuse by 17 priests during the past 40 years. [CBS NEWS: PRIEST ABUSE]

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Published on Sep-16-07


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