Christ the King Catholic Church—Clergy Sexual Abuse in Oakwood, CA

Sexual abuse, especially childhood sexual abuse, inflicts life-long changes on survivors. Many survivors struggle throughout various aspects of their lives, including the loss of faith they may experience because of what happened to them. 

But these individuals are not alone. Survivors of clergy sexual abuse at Christ the King Catholic Church are speaking out, and we’re listening. 

At Boucher LLP, we provide compassionate and fierce advocacy for survivors of clergy sexual abuse at Christ the King Catholic Church and across California. 

Background Information on Clergy Sexual Abuse Claims at Christ the King Catholic Church

Tragically, mounting evidence proves that many members of the Los Angeles Archdiocese knew about abuse perpetrated by now-defrocked Father Michael Baker and others. According to Church records, in December 1986, Father Baker told authorities of the Church that he had “sexual relationships” with two young boys—both under the age of 12 when the abuse began. Baker disclosed the first and last names of the children he had victimized, describing in detail what he had done to them. The Church responded by shuffling “Father Mike,” as the young parishioners called him, between parishes, placing only minor “restrictions” on his contact with minors for over a decade. The Church didn’t remove him from ministry until he asked to leave the priesthood in the wake of a  2000 criminal prosecution..

This is unacceptable. Fortunately, California’s clergy sexual abuse survivors are bravely coming forward to speak out against the injustices perpetrated against them. 

Boucher LLP fought for the rights of some of those who survived Michael Baker’s abuse in 2000—and won. Our firm understands that this may feel like an impossible time for you and your family. When beacons of trust and faith prey on parishioners, it is tragic and inexcusable. We will listen to your story and help you confront the people and institutions responsible for what happened to you. You are not alone with Boucher LLP. 

What Are Survivors’ Rights to File a Church Sexual Abuse Claim Under California Law?

California law allows church sexual abuse survivors to file a personal injury lawsuit against Christ the King Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for their roles in enabling Baker’s repeated sexual abuse of minors. A new law enacted in 2020 expands the time limit for childhood sexual abuse survivors to bring a claim. 

Under the new law, survivors can bring a claim within the later of:

  • 22 years from the date that they turned 18 years old; or 
  • Five years after a person over 18 realized that they suffered psychological harm or illness because of childhood sexual abuse. 

Often, survivors must file the claim before they turn 40 years old, with a crucial exception. If the survivor can show that the perpetrator or the institution knew about the risk of sexual abuse, the plaintiff can file a claim after they turn 40 years old. This is especially vital for survivors of clergy sexual abuse because, in many instances, the Church knew about the abuse or the risk of abuse and did nothing. 

The expanded statute of limitations for these lawsuits allows survivors to come forward and take action if and when they are ready.

Filing a clergy sexual abuse claim won’t undo what’s been done to you and your family, but it can help you on your journey of healing and closure. Many survivors feel as though they lost something because of the abuse. Seeking to hold the institutions that enabled the perpetrator legally responsible can help you regain some of what you lost. Filing a lawsuit against those responsible can also spread awareness. Some survivors don’t feel comfortable coming forward until decades later to encourage themselves to heal and to help protect others from suffering the same harm. 

Does There Need to Be a Criminal Case for Me to File a Church Abuse Claim?

You can initiate a church abuse claim against Christ the King Catholic Church even if there isn’t a criminal case pending. Because of the lower burden of proof for a civil lawsuit, many survivors successfully pursue a civil claim even if a criminal case is never filed.  

How Boucher LLP Can Help You

For decades, Boucher LLP has tirelessly fought for clergy sexual abuse survivors. In 2000, we won a critical settlement against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles on behalf of over 250 abuse survivors, and we haven’t stopped there. In 2007, we were again victorious on behalf of 144 survivors in another clergy sexual abuse case against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

If you or your loved one suffered abuse at the hands of a clergy member, call us today at 818-340-5400.