Ex-Priest & Former High School Principal Faces Sexual Abuse Charges in California

UPDATE: We settled this case on the first day of trial. Check out our story about the Michael Harris Sex Abuse Suit.

Once nicknamed “Father Hollywood” for his good looks and charisma, ex-priest and former high school principal Michael Harris is being sued again for sexual abuse. Harris was sued by 2 of his victims in 2003; John Manly represented the victims in both cases.

The abuse survivor in this case is John Doe, a lieutenant colonel and decorated combat pilot. Doe is suing Harris for “sexual abuse” that allegedly occurred at Mater Dei high school in Southern California where Harris was the principal and Doe was a student.

While a sophomore at Mater Dei, John Doe became a local hero when he witnessed a purse-snatching outside a local shop, chased down the robber, tackled him and retrieved the purse. The victim of the purse snatching was so impressed with Doe’s bravery that she wrote a letter to Principal Harris urging him to congratulate the boy and honor him with a citizenship award.

When Harris received the letter, he summoned John Doe from class. Expecting to be thanked and congratulated by the principal of his school, Doe was beaming with pride as he walked to Father Harris’ office.

Father Harris gave the boy a rosary blessed by the Pope, congratulated him on his bravery and then, allegedly, sexually assaulted him.

Our suit against Father Harris alleges that both the church and school officials had prior knowledge of other sex-abuse allegations lodged against Harris, but they failed to warn parents and students. Because of the schools failure to report sexual abuse allegations to students & teachers, parents allowed their children to attend “movie nights” hosted by Harris at his rectory.

This trial will bring to light the full extent of Fr. Harris’ sexual abuses, and it will uncover how the Diocese of Orange covered-up and mishandled sexual abuse allegations lodged against Harris.

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi sexual abuse attorney Vince Finaldi is representing the plaintiff in this case.