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Victim of Alleged Priest Sex Abuse Takes On the Vatican

Manny Vega sues, wants names of all offenders within the church released
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 4, 2018 3:54 PM CDT
Attorney Jeff Anderson, left, with Manuel Vega, who says he was sexually abused by a priest over a five-year period decades ago, describes Vega's lawsuit against the Vatican, seeking the names of all...   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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(Newser) – A California man who says he was sexually abused by a priest decades ago is suing the Vatican, seeking the release of the names of all offenders within the church worldwide, the AP reports. Manny Vega, a 52-year-old former police officer and Marine, said Thursday that he's seeking the truth for himself and other victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests. "We were raped," Vega said. "It happened to me, it happened to my friends, and it happens to children all across the world, and it continues to happen at the hands of the Catholic church, whose inaction continues to damage children." Vega's lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in California, accuses the Vatican of placing the Rev. Fidencio Silva-Flores in a position of power at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Oxnard, west of Los Angeles, and says it should have known he posed a danger to children. The lawsuit alleges that Silva-Flores sexually abused Vega between 1979 and 1984.

Silva-Flores was charged with 25 counts of molestation in 2003, but the case was dismissed because of the amount of time that had passed. Although Vega reached a settlement with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2007, that doesn't release the Vatican from responsibility, the lawsuit says. "We've come to the sorrowful realization that the problem is at the top and with the Vatican, and thus has to be addressed at the top for children across the globe to truly be safe," said Jeff Anderson, the attorney representing Vega who has represented victims of priest sex abuse for 35 years. The lawsuit doesn't seek monetary damages, but rather an order for the Vatican to release the names of abusers in what Anderson said is more than 3,400 credible cases. It also seeks the names of anyone found guilty of sexual misconduct to be turned over to law enforcement.

(Read more Catholic Church stories.)

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