Bellarmine Sued by Ex-Student Under New Law Waiving Statute of Limitations for Sex Abuse

A San Jose man has filed the first lawsuit under new California law that extends the statute of limitations and offers a three-year window for sexual abuse survivors to sue regardless of when the misconduct happened.

In a complaint filed at the start of the new year, when AB 218 took effect, James Brogan claims Jesuit clergyman William Farrington sexually assaulted him during his freshman year at Bellarmine College Preparatory in the 1960s.

“It’s touched on every single aspect if my life,” Brogan said at a Wednesday press conference hosted by Jeff Anderson & Associates, the law firm representing his case. “You know? And it’s hard to feel like a survivor when I’m still suffering.”

Under AB 218, also known as the Child Victim’s Act, survivors are entitled to triple the damages if an organization s proven to have tried covering up suspected abuse.

Although AB 218 allows victims to sue as anonymous plaintiffs, Brogan chose to use his name in his civil suit against the private high school, the Archdiocese of San Jose and the Society of Jesus. Anderson & Associates founder Jeff Anderson commended Brogan for his bravery in going public and applauded the new California law that gave him a chance to pursue litigation decades after the alleged abuse.

“This law … gives these survivors a chance to have a voice, gives them a chance to take action, gives them a chance to get help, hope and healing and gives them a chance to protect other kids in the future,” Anderson told reporters earlier this week.

Per the lawsuit filed this week, Farrington targeted, groomed and assaulted at least two Bellarmine students during his tenure at the parochial school in the 1960s and ‘70s. He was removed from the ministry decades later, in 2002, after being accused of abuse by at least a half-dozen people and has reportedly lived at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos ever since. According to NBC Bay Area, the 78-year-old lives under a “safety plan” that requires supervised visits and places limitations on travel.

Bellarmine school administrators referred requests for comment to the Jesuit West Province. A Jesuit West spokeswoman, in turn, steered San Jose Inside toward a December 2018 letter released by Father Scott Santarosa along with a list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse.

“On behalf of the Society of Jesus, I apologize to the victims and families who put their trust in a Jesuit, only to have that trust so profoundly betrayed,” the year-old missive read. “It is inconceivable that someone entrusted with the pastoral care of a child could be capable of something so harmful. Yet, tragically, this is a part of our Jesuit history, a legacy we cannot ignore.”

Anderson said he works with scores of victims of childhood abuse in the Bay Area alone who can file lawsuits, confidentially or otherwise, now that the statute of limitations has been lifted. The lawyer urged other survivors to take advantage of the new law to pursue legal recourse and demanded full disclosure by the Diocese of San Jose about the identities, histories and current whereabouts of all clergy accused of sexual abuse.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

4 Comments

  1. I am so glad this stupid statute of limitation was lifted. It was a statute created to protect sexual predators. Victims are ready to talk when they are ready to not when dictated by a statute of limitation. No more breaks for sexual predators regardless of whom they are! Sexual crimes against children is one if not the most horrible human aberration. [email protected] RAPE CULTURE! Victims are survivors only when they stop suffering.

  2. > I am so glad this stupid statute of limitation was lifted.

    So called “feminism” looks like institutionalized denial of due process.

    There is long-established rationale and justification for “statutes of limitations”, and eliminating time limitations on prosecutions will — at some point — create more injustices than it resolves.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_memory

    “False memory”.

    Also . . .

    The notorious “McMartin preschool trial” was an outrageous case study in the abuse and injustices that can result from open-ended, limitless prosecutions based on the testimony of child witnesses manipulated by hysterical, moralistic, obsessive, attention seeking adults.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMartin_preschool_trial

    The statute of limitations is NOT stupid.

    People who want to eliminate statutes of limitations are dangerous extremist zealots.

  3. Bubble? So called “rule of law” looks like institutionalized protection and promotion of pedophilia and sexual predators! Our next goal should be to make the three year window a forever window. This is the only way to [email protected] RAPE CULTURE FOR GOOD and to shame those that hide and protects these vicious criminals! Who gains pleasure from watching children being molested or raped? Who are the perpetrators and the existing market of this industry? Who benefits from it? Who protect it? [email protected] THEM ALL!

  4. This happened in the 1960’s ?!? Can we at least confine these statutes of limitations to crimes that have occurred within the last half-century!?! What’s next?!!?!! Mystics who claim to be reincarnated and allege they had been groped in another life!!!????!!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxkWJcFhfkE

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