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Type of Case (Legal, Clinical, Other): Other

Location (State or Country): California

Form of Corroboration (other victim, witness of event, family member/mother, advisory organization, confession): confession by perpetrator


Mary Staggs recovered memories of sexual abuse by Father John Lenihan, her priest in early adolescence in Anaheim, California. Staggs went to police when she experienced flashbacks at age 26. The criminal statute had run out, but she was able to pursue a civil damage suit. In a deposition, Lenihan admitted to fondling Staggs in 1978. In 1991, the Diocese of Orange paid Mary Staggs an out-of-court settlement.


1. Berry, J. (1993, June 13). Fathers and Sins: An Uneasy Coalition of Activists and Clerics is Forcing the Catholic Church to Confront the Problem of Sexually Abusive Priests. Los Angeles Times Magazine.

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