Ex-Catholic Church Worker Settles Harassment Case

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A former South El Monte church employee settled her lawsuit that alleged she was sexually harassed by a church pastor.

Alma Burciaga filed suit in October 2009 against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Education & Welfare Corp. Inc. and the Rev. Antonio Esteban.

The case was scheduled for trial Monday, but defense attorneys filed papers three days ago with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu stating the case had been resolved. No terms were divulged and the lawyers could not be immediately reached.

Burciaga, who began working as a janitor and cook at Epiphany Catholic Church in January 2007, alleged Esteban spanked her on the buttocks when she walked near him and hugged her “in a sexual manner that was offensive” to her.

When Burciaga complained to a supervisor, the boss told her to “endure the harassment and hopefully in time Father Esteban would stop harassing” her, according to court documents.

Burciaga was later placed on medical leave by her doctor.

The physician gave her permission to return last year, so long as she did not have to work around priests so she could continue her recovery, but the archdiocese refused to reinstate her, according to her suit.

Esteban is no longer at the church.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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