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Partner

Courtney M. Thom

As a career sex crimes prosecutor, Courtney brings invaluable experience to her practice. Before joining Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, she served as a Deputy District for Orange County. In this role, Courtney zealously represented the People of California in the prosecution of criminal cases, including sexual assault, rape, child molestation, and child pornography, among others. Notably, she conducted over 50 criminal trials, many of which garnered significant media attention.

“I had the honor and privilege of representing survivors in the prosecution of crimes including child molestation, violent rape, kidnapping, attempted murder during the course of sexual assault, among others. Many defendants in the cases I prosecuted through trial are serving the rest of their lives in prison, bringing some sense of justice to those affected. Now, as a civil attorney, my dedication to seeking justice is a driving force as I tirelessly work to hold every institution and person accountable for their complicity in enabling sexual abuse. Make no mistake: no stone is left unturned as we ensure that perpetrators and their accomplices face the full consequences of their actions.”

In 2016, Courtney worked in the District Attorney’s Sexual Assault Unit where she exclusively prosecuted felony sexual assaults, including child molestation and forcible sex crimes. Many of the survivors in those cases were children as young as infants, adults who gained the courage to report the abuse they experienced years ago as children, and vulnerable elder adults. Her dedication to seeking justice was evident as she worked tirelessly alongside law enforcement agencies to investigate sexual assault crimes, filed criminal charges, managed criminal discovery, met with survivors, and skillfully conducted jury trials and sentencing hearings.

Courtney’s unwavering commitment to serving survivors has been recognized by Waymakers, a prestigious Orange County foundation, which honored her with the Sexual Assault Victim Service Award in 2019. Additionally, she has played a pivotal role in enhancing community safety by providing Sexual Assault Investigations training to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Due to her unparalleled expertise in both criminal and civil litigation on behalf of survivors, Courtney is exceptionally adept at navigating complex legal proceedings, including serving as Marsy’s Law representation. Moreover, she actively advocates for legislative reforms aimed at bolstering protections for individuals most vulnerable to sexual abuse.

Verdicts & Settlements

Ms. Thom has tried and convicted several sexual offenders throughout her career as a sex crimes prosecutor. Here is a small representative sample of her trial and litigation experience:

  • People v. Kauffman (2019) Orange County Superior Court – Ms. Thom tried and convicted Mr. Kauffman, a member of the UC Irvine Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, of molesting three young girls whom he met through his daughter and while helping coach a youth softball league. Ms. Thom successfully argued for the maximum sentence of 170 years to life in prison, which the judge imposed. On appeal, the Court found notably no issues nor errors, and affirmed the sentence which it acknowledged was the “functional equivalent of a death sentence.”
  • People v. Callender (2020) Orange County Superior Court – Ms. Thom tried and convicted Mr. Callender for molesting a baby, filming those heinous acts, and posting and sharing those images on the internet to trade for other images of child pornography. The case was the result of an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles and the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force. Ms. Thom successfully argued for the maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison, which the judge imposed, and was subsequently affirmed on appeal.
  • $10 million settlement against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange on behalf of a victim of two priests, Fr. Eleuterio Ramos and Fr. Siegfried Widera.
  • $6.2 million settlement for young girls molested by their teacher, Fernando Figueroa, at Liberty Elementary School, within Riverside Unified School District.
  • Confidential settlement with Santa Ana Unified School District for the sexual abuse of multiple young girls by Eddy Infante Bustamante, an after-school aide at Greenville Fundamental School. This settlement was reached after trial commenced.
  • Confidential settlement with Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists for the sexual abuse of multiple children by Matthew Daniel Johnson, a school counselor at La Sierra Academy, who was subsequently federally indicted.

Education

  • Pepperdine University (J.D. Cum Laude)
  • Indiana University (B.A.)

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • State Bar of California
  • United States District Court, Central District of California
  • Pro Hac Vice in Arizona, Oregon, and Pennsylvania
  • Orange County Bar Association