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Lawsuits allege sexual abuse and cover-ups at Catholic high schools in Santa Ana and La Cañada Flintridge

On the eve of a new law that gives victims of childhood sexual assaults more time to come forward, lawsuits have been filed over alleged abuse and cover-ups at Catholic high schools in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Attorneys on Friday announced a pair of lawsuits filed by two former students of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana and one by a former student of St. Francis High School in La Cañada Flintridge. During a pair of news conferences, the lawyers alleged that systematic sexual assault occurred at both campuses and was covered up by school and diocese leaders.

Assembly Bill 218 affects those abused in many walks of life, from Olympics swimmers and schoolchildren to Boy Scouts and young Catholic churchgoers.

The legislation, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October and taking effect Jan. 1, extends the time that victims of childhood sexual abuse can file lawsuits. It gives those for whom the statute of limitations had run out a window of three years to bring claims that would have otherwise been barred.

“To the offenders both past and present, and to all those who have made the reckless choices to protect offenders past and present, be on notice that the survivors are coming, and it is time for their voice and truth,” said Jeff Anderson, an attorney whose firm is representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuits filed this week. “You can no longer hide, because the law will not protect you anymore.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for more.

Source: Orange County Register

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