Man alleging abuse by clergy at San Jose’s Bellarmine Prep files lawsuit under new law

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SAN JOSE (KRON) — “It’s time because we’re coming at you. We’re coming at you with the survivors and their truth. We’re armed not just with the law, but with their truth.”

Attorneys for a man who claims he was sexually abused by a member of the clergy at San Jose’s Bellarmine Prep have filed a lawsuit against the school.

The lawsuit is the first of an expected wave of legal action made possible by a new state law.

“We’re talking about three decades of this guy being allowed to be in and around kids and in schools as a teacher, as a coach, under the supervision of the Catholic bishops,” said attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents the plaintiff. 

Anderson pointed the finger at a picture of Brother William Farrington at a news conference Wednesday announcing a lawsuit against Farrington’s former employer, Bellarmine Prep School and the Diocese of San Jose.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a former student, referred to as “John Doe,” alleges Farrington sexually abused him when he attended Bellarmine during the 1960s.   

The suit was made possible by Assembly Bill 218, known as the California Child Victims Act.  

The law opens a three year window for childhood sexual abuse victims to file lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred and is being applauded by other clergy abuse victims like Joelle Casteix.

“The courthouse doors are open,” Casteix said. “And you can shine light on horrible crimes and ensure that what happened to you never happens to another child because you can expose perpetrators who are walking the streets today.”

The lawsuit further alleges that Bellarmine Prep knew of the allegations against Brother Farrington and covered it up.  

Attorney Anderson also alleged negligence by the San Jose Diocese and demanded full disclosure of its role in the Farrington case.

“Know that this law has teeth and for anybody or institution, organization, school or diocese that concealed it or covered it up, it’s time because we’re coming at you,” Anderson said. 

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