Joelle Casteix, along with supporters from the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), announces a cover-up lawsuit against the Los Angeles Archdiocese claiming church officials have been aware of a clergy member's child sexual abuse and pornography scandal since 2005 yet have taken no action against it.
Members of a group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse accused the L.A. Archdiocese on Wednesday of covering up a sexual abuse scandal at Daniel Murphy High School.
Joelle Casteix and other members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) allege that a former staffer at Daniel Murphy High School abused children and produced child pornography — something they say church officials have been aware of since 2005.
"That's why the civil process is so important," said Casteix at Wednesday's news conference. "Because people will be deposed and documents will be released. And we'll see just who knew what and when."
Casteix also claims that parents whose kids were enrolled in Daniel Murphy were not informed when John Malburg, the former dean of students, was arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison. Parents were also reportedly left in the dark about the allegations themselves.
That's resulted in a complaint, filed on behalf of a former anonymous student, against the archdiocese and John Malburg. It alleges sexual battery, negligence and fraudulent conveyance.
Three victims have come forward about possible abuse. It is unclear at this point if there are others.
"For a lot of victims, they sit and say, 'Gosh, no one will believe me,'" said Casteix. "But the more exposure we get out there, and the more victims that come forward, witnesses come forward... People know they will be believed."
Smolka and SNAP representatives have said that the archdiocese discovered Malburg's pornography after it was left in a copy machine on school grounds, a claim the archdiocese denies.
“The archdiocese first became aware of the investigation from the police and fully cooperated with the investigation,” Tod Tamberg, an archdiocese spokesman, told CBS. “Malburg was immediately removed from his position and archdiocesan officials met with parents at the school.”
Daniel Murphy High was closed in 2009. Malburg, who was not a priest, was the son of former Vernon mayor Leonis Malburg.