Mission Viejo Presbyterian Church Wins in Sex Abuse Case
A woman who may have developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after she was sexually abused for more than a decade by an Orange County pastor is barred from winning her lawsuit because she waited too long to file the case.
According to a ruling this week by a three-justice panel at a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana, Superior Court Judge James Di Cesare correctly ended Carol Ann Carlson's case for statute of limitation reasons after she waited at least nine years to make her claims.
The 52-year-old Carlson, who is named in the court documents because she was in her 30s and 40s when the sexual abuse occurred and publicly identified herself a victim, contended that Pastor Jack Loo and The Presbyterian Church of the Master in Mission Viejo traumatically abused her for 11 years while she sought religious counseling.
According to Carlson's lawsuit, Loo abused his position as a trusted therapist and the church abused its authority by negligently supervising the pastor.
In a pre-lawsuit press conference, Carlson and her allies had declared that "during a particularly vulnerable point in [the victim's] life, [Pastor Loo] manipulated [her] for his personal sexual gratification and had sex with her against her will."
But the appellate court determined that Carlson's complaint fell under the legal requirement that it be filed within a two-year period of the abuse.
The justices also noted that Carlson gave inconsistent statements about the alleged PTSD diagnosis during a deposition conducted by church lawyers.
She must now pay the church for its legal costs to fight her appeal, according to court records.
In their monthly newsletter, church officials note that Loo is no longer working at that church.
--R. Scott Moxley
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