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Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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August 19, 2016
Edward Smith

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit – Stockton 

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton Personal Injury Attorney. A lawsuit was filed recently alleging retaliation and sexual harassment by a pastor of Stockton’s Roman Catholic Diocese. The pastor was subsequently placed on administrative leave.

What Happened?

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, August 11, 2016 in the San Joaquin County Superior Court, asserts that Monsignor Lawrence McGovern transmitted sexually explicit images to the victim who was a pool maintenance contractor. The victim reported the incident and his position was terminated.

Sexual Harassment Involving Retaliation

The victim’s attorney stated this is a clear case of sexual harassment involving retaliation. The attorney also stated  that Monsignor McGovern sent a naked photograph of his genitalia to his client who remains unidentified. The victim reported the lewd photograph to police. Shortly thereafter, the victim was terminated. Not only are the alleged actions a clear violation of law but it is even more upsetting because it involved a member of the clergy.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton supervises Catholic parishes in Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. The following day after the lawsuit was filed the diocese issued a statement indicating that Monsignor McGovern had been put on administrative leave.

Monsignor Lawrence McGovern – Pastor of Presentation Parish, Stockton 

Monsignor McGovern has been a Pastor of Stockton’s Presentation Parish.  The diocese claims this is the first time they have learned of an employment related allegation against him. The Diocese of Stockton stated that Bishop Stephen Blaire has put Monsignor McGovern on leave pending a complete and full investigation in accordance with the Church’s Canon Law.

Stockton Diocese Hit Hard By Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

In January 2014, the Diocese of Stockton filed for bankruptcy after paying out millions of dollars in settlement of child sexual abuse lawsuits. In the past 20 years, the diocese has paid over $14 million in settlements, lawsuits and legal fees and costs in multiple cases of sexual abuse by clergy, according to law firm representing victim in this current case.

Watch Youtube video below as Bishop explains Stockton Diocese decision to file bankruptcy in 2014 due to multiple sex abuse lawsuits:

Monsignor McGovern Was Key Witness in Sexual Abuse Lawsuits While Serving as Vicar General

Monsignor McGovern served in the capacity of vicar general of the Diocese of Stockton during a period of time when it was being inundated with sexual abuse lawsuits.

He was a key witness in many cases involving former priests Michael Kelly and Oliver O’Grady.

Oliver O’Grady

Oliver O’Grady became the subject of a documentary entitled “Deliver Us From Evil.” After serving prison time for charges of child molestation, he got deported in 2001 to his native county of Ireland. There he served more time in prison for being caught possessing child pornography.

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly fled to his native country of Ireland in 2012 after he was found liable of sexual abuse in a civil lawsuit. The victim in that case was awarded a settlement of $3.75 million.

A Calaveras County grand jury later indicted him on four more counts of child sexual abuse. This prompted a judge to put out a $175,000 warrant for his arrest. Sadly, Kelly has not had to face those charges because he has not returned from Ireland.

Monsignor Lawrence McGovern

Monsignor McGovern, a witness in both cases, denied being aware of any sexual improprieties by Father O’Grady or Father Kelly, despite residing with them for years in the rectory. Attorneys representing the victims are not surprised to learn of sexual misconduct by Monsignor McGovern.

Stockton Personal Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton Personal Injury Attorney. If you or a loved one has suffered sexual harassment, please call me today at (209) 227-1931 for free and friendly advice. You can also call me toll free at (800) 404-5400 or send me an email.

I’ve been helping Northern California residents recover compensation for their injury claims for more than 34 years.

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I belong to the California Million Dollar Advocates. Trial attorneys in this forum have won multiple million dollar judgments and settlements.

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