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Ex-Priest's Abuse Trial Will Stay in Bay Area, Judge Says

January 06, 2006|From Associated Press

OAKLAND — The civil trial of a former priest accused of child sex abuse will go ahead as planned in Northern California, rather than moving to Southern California, where the alleged abuse occurred, a judge ruled.

An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that the case against Mario Cimmarrusti, a former instructor at St. Anthony's Seminary in Santa Barbara, was already far enough along in Northern California and therefore should proceed to trial March 6.

The alleged victim, referred to in court papers as John Doe 39, said he filed the suit in the Bay Area because that is where the Franciscan Order has a regional headquarters and because he now lives in the area.

The man alleged that he was abused as a high school sophomore and that he told at least two priests about the alleged abuse but nothing was done.

The Franciscan Order argued that the case should be moved to Southern California because it is similar to eight other lawsuits filed against Cimmarrusti in Los Angeles courts.

The order has settled with a number of abuse victims since the seminary closed in 1987.

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