Alleged Molestation Victim Speaks Out Against Diocese of Orange

IRVINE (CNS) - A man who has alleged in a lawsuit against the Diocese of Orange that he was molested by a Roman Catholic priest when he was 6 years old in 1994 said today that Diocese officials have attempted to ``intimidate'' him.

Last week, a judge cleared the way for the public identification of the priest, Father Edward Poettgen, who was most recently assigned to St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim. The man suing him held a news conference Monday from the offices of his attorneys to say the Diocese has treated him ``like an enemy of the church.''

The man, whose name was not released, said he reported the priest in January of 2019 so he could find some sort of healing.

``Instead of treating me with compassion Bishop (Kevin) Vann has treated me as an enemy of the church,'' he said. ``They served subpoenas on my mother, my girlfriend and my employers, hoping to intimidate me but I will not be intimidated. I find strength in knowing that my actions will protect other children.''

The man told reporters, ``I'm not a scared little boy anymore.''

Poettgen has been placed on administrative leave, Diocese spokeswoman Tracey Kincaid said. She added the Diocese would not comment further on the pending litigation.

Attorney Vince Finaldi, who represents the plaintiff, said he deposed Poettgen last month, when the priest said he was still in active ministry at the church.

The plaintiff claims Poettgen molested him while he was enrolled as a student and in the parish of St. Polycarp Catholic Church in Stanton in 1994 and 1996.

``They've known about this for over a year and haven't informed parishioners,'' Finaldi said last week. ``It's crazy.''

Finaldi said Poettgen served on a board of consultants that decided to settle all its lawsuits in 2007 alleging clergy sex abuse.

``They say he doesn't have any other allegations against him, but we've heard that before and proven it wrong,'' Finaldi said. ``We'll have to see what the discovery turns up.''

A trial date has not yet been set.

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