Southern California breaking news and trends

Newly released file details clergy sex abuse in Santa Barbara

santa barbara

Photo by Doc Searls via Flickr Creative Commons

Files detailing alleged clergy abuse at Franciscans' St. Anthony Seminary, a former boarding school in Santa Barbara, have been released following a lengthy legal battle.

The documents, posted online at, contain accusations of sexual abuse of children, and an account of a man who describes being molested there as a child and later molesting other childeren, says the L.A. Times.

For decades, the now-shuttered St. Anthony's Seminary was awash in dark secrets. A cache of documents obtained in a lawsuit and posted online Wednesday, including [Robert] Van Handel's so-called sexual autobiography, has begun to shed some light on them.

The documents, containing accounts of 25 alleged victims who say they were abused by nine clergy members, is the largest release of a Roman Catholic religious order's confidential files, according to a plaintiffs' attorney. Van Handel is the only one of them who has been criminally convicted, notes the newspaper.


Another LA-area educator arrested, accused of lewd contact

Taylor Welch

Photo via NBC LA

Substitute teacher Taylor Welch, 22, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of lewd acts upon a child.

A La Mirada substitute teacher, Taylor Welch, was arrested on suspicion of lewd contact with a student, said authorities.

The 22-year-old teacher and 13-year-old student allegedly met at Arlie F. Hutchinson Middle School and started a relationship via Facebook that developed into "sexting," sending graphic images, and inappropriate touching in the classroom.

The victim reportedly showed photographs on her phone to a friend, which led to a parent contacting school officials, who in turn notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, notes NBC LA.

Detectives from the special victims unit took Welch into custody on Tuesday on suspicion of felony lewd acts upon a child, and distributing obscene material to a minor. 

He is the second substitute in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District to be arrested this year, says the L.A. Times.