Santa Rosa diocese settles molestation lawsuit

  • Ted Oswald (PD FILE, 2005)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa has settled a lawsuit against a Lake County priest accused of sexually abusing a boy in his parish in the 1980s and 1990s.

Diocese officials on Tuesday confirmed the case involving the Rev. Ted Oswald had been settled in late February, but would not divulge the terms of the settlement.

A phone call to Bishop Daniel Walsh for comment was not returned. Diocese attorney Dan Galvin said neither he nor the bishop would answer questions about the case.

Oswald was the 17th priest in the Santa Rosa diocese to have been accused of sexual molestation, church officials have said. They also have acknowledged paying nearly $25 million to an undisclosed number of people who asserted they were molested by at least six priests. Most victims were preteen boys when the incidents were alleged to have occurred.

The civil lawsuit was filed last year by Christopher Griego of Tracy. It did not specify what Oswald was accused of doing, only that sexual abuse allegedly occurred between 1988 and 1995 while Oswald was serving at St. Mary Immaculate Church in Lakeport and Griego was a young parishioner.

Oswald has not served as a priest since the civil lawsuit was filed last summer, diocesan spokeswoman Deirdre Frontczak said. Hes not in active ministry anywhere, she said.

Griegos attorney, Richard Simons of Hayward, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. As of Tuesday, a notice of settlement of the case had not been posted to the civil case file in Sonoma County Superior Court.

Griegos lawsuit claimed the priests actions caused emotional distress, psychological harm and injury to his mental and physical health.

It originally was filed in Sonoma County Superior Court in 2007 but did not name Oswald until last year. The complaint also named the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa, which oversees the Lakeport parish, for allegedly failing to protect Griego. The lawsuit also contended the diocese failed to intervene.

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