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2nd lawsuit alleges sex abuse by Lakeport priest

A second civil lawsuit has been filed accusing a Lakeport Catholic priest, now deceased, of sexual molestation.

The lawsuit accuses the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa and St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Lake County of failing to protect a boy, then 16, from a known sexual predator.

"The Diocese of Santa Rosa possessed knowledge of numerous incidents of inappropriate sexual contact and conduct by Father Ted Oswald with minors" before the plaintiff was molested, according to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Sonoma County Superior Court.

In addition, the youth "essentially was being abused at the same time other people were mounting lawsuits" against Oswald, said Skye Daley, the plaintiff's attorney. Daley is part of an Irvine-based law firm that specializes in sexual abuse cases.

Diocese attorney Dan Galvin said Wednesday he would not comment because the diocese had not been served with the lawsuit.

The Santa Rosa diocese settled the earlier lawsuit, which alleged Oswald had molested two boys between 1988 and 1995, for $1.3 million in 2009 without admitting wrongdoing.

The newly filed lawsuit does not state an amount of potential damages. Daley said he wants to take the case to trial rather than settle.

The prior lawsuit was filed in early 2008 but was not made public until several months later, when Oswald was removed from his position as a priest at St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Lakeport.

Oswald died in 2010 at the age of 65.

The new lawsuit alleges Oswald began molesting the plaintiff in 2007 after "grooming" the child through flattery and ingratiating himself to the child's parents. The first sexual incident occurred after he hired the boy to wash his motor home, according to the lawsuit.


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