Clergy Sexual Abuse in the San Jose Diocese
In 2002 we represented sexual abuse survivors in their claims against Rev. Joseph F. Pritchard for the abuse he perpetrated against victims from the San Francisco and San Jose areas, recovering nearly $21,000,000 in compensation for damages through settlement.
After being ordained as a priest in 1948, Pritchard served in multiple parishes in the San Jose Diocese between 1950 and 1980. Numerous accusations of abuse were levied against him by at least 19 victims, including his own nephew, all occurring within the Bay Area and its surrounding Diocese.
These cases were only made public after Pritchard’s nephew came forward alleging that he had been sexually abused by his uncle, with his mother having reported this to Church officials in 1959. Following these reports, no action was taken by the Church to prevent further abuse, and several more victims alleged having suffered at the hands of Pritchard in his living quarters at St. Martin’s Church in San Jose during the 1970s.
The father of one of the St. Martin’s victims stated that he too wrote a letter complaining of Pritchard’s abuse to Church officials. Despite years of denial of the existence of the letter, Church officials later stipulated to its existence in Court, with Pritchard having been moved from St. Martin’s to St. Nicholas Church in Los Altos where he served until his death in 1988.
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If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a priest, you are not alone. Survivors still have rights, but the time to come forward is limited. All claims under the California Assembly Bill 218 must be filed before January 2023.