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First Catholic Diocese Child Sex Abuse Case Settled Since the Passage of AB 218

A $1.9 million settlement was announced in a case against pedophile priest Father Lawrence Lovell and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, marking the first settlement with a Catholic diocese in California since the passage of AB 218.

Irvine, California– Attorneys representing Richard Barrios, allegedly abused as a child by convicted pedophile priest Lawrence Lovell, announced a $1.9 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Lawrence Lovell and the Claretian Missionaries. Lovell was an Order priest of the Claretian Missionaries.

This is the first case to be settled with a Catholic diocese in California since the passage of AB 218 in September 2019. This landmark law created a three-year window in the state’s statute of limitations allowing victims of past childhood sexual abuse to seek justice.

Attorney and victim’s advocate Vince Finaldi said, “This case represents one more failure of the Catholic Church to protect children from a serial sexual predator. I applaud the courage displayed by our client by stepping forward to hold his abuser and the Los Angeles Archdiocese accountable years after his abuse occurred. AB 218 will now give this right to all victims of child sexual abuse during the next three years and I encourage them to seek justice.”

Richard Barrios said “For too many years a culture of silence protected child abusers within the Catholic Church. In my case, this corrupt culture allowed my abuser to continue molesting children. I encourage all his victims and those who were injured by him and other predator priests to speak out and demand justice. Nothing can erase the damage that was done to us. By raising our voices we can spare other children the same fate.”

Mr. Barrios is 47 years old. His lawsuit alleged that he was sexually abused by Father Lawrence Lovell throughout a two-year period from 1982 through 1984 when the victim was 9 to 11 years old.

According to the lawsuit, the victim was repeatedly abused in the sacristy of the San Gabriel Mission Church while serving as an altar boy. When Richard Barrios was 15-16 years old, he disclosed his abuse to church authorities who paid for 6 months of counselling prior to Mr. Doe being hospitalized for suicide prevention treatment.

Lovell served in the Phoenix Diocese before he went to Los Angeles, and he was reassigned to Phoenix after he left Los Angeles in 1984. In 1986 he was removed from ministry after he was convicted in Los Angeles of abusing a 14-year-old boy and placed on 3 years of probation. Lovell was indicted in 2003 for sexually abusing children in both Yavapai County, where he had been assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott, and in Maricopa County. He reached plea agreements in both cases, pleading guilty to single counts of child molestation and sexual conduct with a minor and received a 14-year prison sentence.

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi have recovered more than one billion dollars in damages for victims of abuse by clergy in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Alaska and New York.

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is the nation’s leading firm representing athletes in child sexual abuse cases against school districts, Universities and Olympic Governing Bodies. They recently represented 180 alleged victims of former Olympic Team doctor Larry Nassar resulting in a $500 million-dollar settlement against Michigan State University. In 2018 the firm settled cases against the Torrance Unified School District for $31 million on behalf of alleged victims of former wrestling coach and convicted child molester Thomas Snider, against Los Angeles Unified School district for $8 million in cases involving former football coach and convicted child molester Jamie Jimenez and for $14 million in cases involving former Los Angeles Unified District employee Ronnie Lee Roman. The firm has also settled $30 million in claims against Redlands Unified School District.

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Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is regarded as America's leading law firm for sexual abuse cases. As a firm that exclusively handles sexual abuse cases, our California law firm offers experienced representation to obtain justice for sexual abuse survivors, harassment, and discrimination.

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