Lawsuit Alleges Jesuit Priest Sexually Abused Boy 1,000 Times

According to allegations raised in a recently filed sexual abuse lawsuit, a 61 year old man indicates he was abused and assaulted by a famed Jesuit priest and spiritual adviser to the recently canonized Mother Theresa, who held him under his thrall for years.

The complaint was filed by Robert J. Goldberg in California state court on December 30, according to the Associated Press, claiming that the late Reverend Donald J. McGuire sexually abused him at least a thousand times when Goldberg was a child.

McGuire died in prison in 2017, after being convicted of a number of other child sex abuse charges. However, before he was defrocked, McGuire was a world-traveling Jesuit priest, served as a spiritual adviser to Mother Theresa and was supported by her order.

Over the last several decades, allegations of rampant sexual abuse have emerged, establishing that McGuire had been abusing young boys for much of his career, dating back to at least the 1960s. As a result, he faced a number of convictions, beginning in 2002.

Goldberg’s complaint had no defendants listed at filing but intends to name the Jesuit order and its leaders in Rome, seeking damages for failure to prevent the abuse or adequately investigate credible allegations.

The lawsuit will be brought under a new California law, which went into effect on New Year’s day, extending the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits involving child sexual abuse. Although Goldberg’s claim previously would have been time-barred, the new law provides a three-year window for plaintiffs to submit claims for abuse that occurred as a child.

According to Goldberg, McGuire befriended his family when he was a boy, and took Goldberg on as an assistant and protégé’, taking him around the world and sexually abusing him the entire time. In return, McGuire paid generously to Goldberg’s family, who were poor, and even helped transplant them to San Francisco to follow his ministry.

The lawsuit indicates that the church received accusations about McGuire’s behavior involving other children starting in the 1960s, and new accusations continued to surface throughout the years Goldberg was abused. However, the church continued to support McGuire for decades, with Mother Theresa writing personal letters on his behalf and her nuns showing up to support him in his trial in 2003, where he was convicted and given a 25-year sentence.

McGuire was defrocked and died in prison in 2017, at the age of 86. In 2018, he was named in a list of 65 priests linked to sexual abuse allegations by the Midwest Jesuits.

The lawsuit comes just a couple months after the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the dioceses of Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernadino and San Diego, launched the California Independent Compensation Program (ICP), which is designed to resolve credible claims involving sex abuse by Catholic priests and other members of the clergy that stretch back for decades.

The program was created with independent mediator Kenneth R. Feinberg, who has been involved in some of the highest profile settlement funds in recent years, and Camille S. Biros, in conjunction with California Bishops.

The fund came amid increasing awareness about the extent of clergy sex abuse cases that have occurred for decades, and other high-profile situations where abused children are not comfortable stepping forward until decades later.


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