from Albatross - Wednesday, September 25, 2002
accessed 2041 times
From the Los Angeles Times 9/25.
I am posting selected portions of an LA Times article because it shows that abusers can be brought up on criminal charges even as long as 27 years after the sexual abuse took place.
By WILLIAM LOBDELL and CHRISTINE HANLEY , TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Orange County authorities arrested a former Catholic priest Tuesday (9/24/02)on suspicion of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the 1970s after the man allegedly confessed to an undercover deputy posing as his out-of-wedlock daughter.
Officials with the Orange County district attorney's office said that in child abuse cases, the statute of limitations does not begin until the victim comes forward no matter how long ago the alleged crime occurred. Charges must be filed within a year of that date.
Plesetz's arrest caps a four-month investigation into crimes authorities said occurred from 1972 to 1974, when Plesetz was a pastor at St. Edward Catholic Church in Dana Point.
It comes as advocates for victims of priest abuse criticize law enforcement for not filing criminal charges in most cases. The alleged victim, identified in the criminal complaint as "Janet M.," first met the priest when she was a 13-year-old singer in the church choir.
Prosecutors charge that Plesetz repeatedly abused her—acts that ended when she became pregnant.
Authorities became aware of the incident in June, when Janet M. filed a complaint with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Jim Amormino, a sheriff's spokesman, said he didn't know why she decided to come forward. "I don't know if she lived that long with anger or what had happened," he said.
Advocates for victims of priest abuse described the arrest as a milestone. "I think when victims hear about this arrest it's going to give them hope," said Mary Grant, a Los Angeles-based director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "It's been a long process for victims—hundreds have come forward. This is a sign that this is being taken seriously."
While the Catholic Church in Southern California and across the nation has paid out millions of dollars to abuse victims who filed civil suits, criminal charges against priests remain relatively rare.
In Los Angeles, Catholic officials are bracing for possible indictments of 15 current and former priests on felony sex charges, according to law enforcement sources. In Orange County, a handful of priests are under criminal investigation