LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been named in a new lawsuit that claims it failed to protect a student from being sexually abused by a volunteer softball coach.
Epifanio Nevarez, a former coach at St. Didacus Elementary School in Sylmar, was convicted of lewd acts with a child under 14 in September 2013.
The suit claims the Archdiocese, the archbishop and the school did nothing to protect children at St. Didacus and allowed Nevarez “to come onto campus and victimize the minor child.”
“Specifically, he came into contact with this minor and took her home from the school to have her participate in ‘sex games’ with Nevarez,” the suit alleges.
The girl, who was allegedly molested as a 13-year-old middle school student during the 2011-2012 school year, ultimately confided in an older sibling about the abuse.
“This is very difficult for me, for my daughter, for my family,” the victim’s father, Herminio Ortiz, said.
Attorney Michael Carrillo hopes the lawsuit will force the Archdiocese to reform policies that have been allegedly overlooked in the wake of church-child sex abuse scandals nationwide.
“We want changes within the Archdiocese so that they vet any volunteer, just like a teacher,” he said. “Beyond that, we want changes in state law so that public or private institutions are required to keep complaints of misconduct within the teacher or administrator’s file for 20 years and not for five.”
The Archdiocese released a statement Tuesday morning regarding the lawsuit:
“Epifanio Nevarez was a designated parent representative for his grandchildren who were students at St. Didacus School. Archdiocesan policy does not allow anyone with a know credible allegation of abuse of a minor to serve of volunteer in any ministry.”