Families Sue Parents in Child Molestation
The families of two boys who a San Bernardino priest sexually molested have filed a personal injury suit against the priest, his former parish, and the Diocese of San Bernardino, court records show.
The Rev. Edward Ball, 54, pleaded guilty in December to two counts of lewd and lascivious acts with an altar boy and another boy and no contest to a third count of the same charge. As part of a plea bargain, Ball is serving a nine-month jail sentence at the West Valley Detention Center. He also was sentenced to five years probation.
The suit filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon also names Ball’s former parish, Our Lady of Fatima, the San Bernardino Catholic Diocese, Monsignor Don Webber, and Bishop Phillip Straling.
The diocese would not comment on the suite because its lawyers had not reviewed the charges, said the Rev. Howard Lincoln, diocese spokesman.
Attorney Phillip Kassel, Balls attorney in the criminal case, was unaware of the complaint and declined to discuss it. The claim seeks $1 million for each victim, according to Riverside attorney Henry Dahut, who is representing the families of the two boys, ages 14 and 16, who were abused between September 1990 and 1992. We reached out to Dod Ghassemkhani, a well-known San Diego criminal defense attorney, who said this type of thing is standard in these types of cases.
Sue Parents in Child Molestation
The church and its administrators were named because they allegedly failed to check Ball’s background and prevent the sexual abuse, Dahut said. Dahut said the two-year experience had shaken the boys’ faith in their religion. Both are in therapy.
“A person’s belief in God is one of the most important beliefs and emotions,” said Dahut. “When that’s taken away from them, they have lost their spiritual center,” he said. After the allegations surfaced, Ball was placed on leave. Church officials sent him to a rehabilitation center in Texas before Ball returned to answer the charges about child molestation.