A man who was abused as a child by a Catholic priest Thursday announced a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles against the Vatican, seeking the names of all known offenders within the church worldwide.
Manny Vega, 52, alleges that the Vatican should have known of the dangers the priest posed to children at the church in Oxnard where the plaintiff was sexually abused as an altar boy over a five-year period decades ago.
“I’m seeking the truth — that’s what this is all about,” Vega told reporters at a press conference in Los Angeles. “You have to get the images in your head what these priests did to us. And the Catholic church has done nothing … the inaction continues to damage children.”
The 53-page lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court, seeks to force the Vatican to release of the names of all priests who allegedly sexually abused children, many of whom allegedly remain in ministry and work in communities throughout the world, plaintiff’s lawyer Jeff Anderson said.
Attempts to contact a U.S. lawyer representing the Vatican for comment were unsuccessful.
Anderson said the lawsuit also seeks disclosure of the identities of all top church officials complicit in the cover-up of child sexual abuse, including Vatican officials, cardinals, bishops and religious superiors worldwide.
“In 35 years of working with survivors and bringing actions against top officials in America, one thing is clear,” Anderson said. “The problem is at the top and until the problem is addressed at the top, it will continue. We applaud this courageous survivor and all the survivors who have shared their truth to help protect kids.”
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles settled with more than 500 victims of clergy abuse, including Vega, for $660 million in 2007. In 2013, the archdiocese released personnel records for more than 120 members of the clergy who were accused.
On Tuesday, Anderson filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against California bishops, and clergy in Los Angeles and throughout the state, on behalf of a man who alleges he was sexually abused as a child by a priest he called a “close friend.”
The lawsuit demands that all California bishops immediately release the names and documented histories of all clerical offenders that each diocese allegedly keeps secretly in their possession.