Seven sue California diocese over alleged sex abuse

Plaintiffs accuse the church of negligence in hiring and supervision of abusive priest

Published August 18, 2010 10:40PM (EDT)

Six women and one man who allege they were sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest have filed two separate lawsuits against the Diocese of Oakland.

The lawsuits filed Wednesday claim that the diocese was negligent in hiring and supervising Stephen Kiesle and failed to warn parents.

In April, The Associated Press obtained Kiesle's laicization file, which included a letter bearing the now-Pope's signature. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in the letter that the arguments the diocese made for removing Kiesle over child molestation claims were serious but added that such action required careful review and more time.

Diocese spokesman Mike Brown says he could not comment until seeing the suit.

By Juliana Barbassa

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Catholicism Sexual Abuse