Woman Sues Archdiocese of Los Angeles Under New State Law

KNX 1070
November 19, 2019 - 4:07 pm

A woman is suing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under a new state law which gives survivors of childhood sexual abuse more time to file claims.

"I am standing up for all the people who have been sexually assaulted," Aimee Galicia Torres said. 

She accuses Father Honesto Bismonte of sexually abusing her from the ages of right to 12 when he was assigned to a church in Gardena.

Torres says she carried the secret for years.

When she reported it to police, Torres says she was the one treated like a criminal and the aunt who raised her, disowned her.

"It was like an absolute nightmare and I began to wonder 'why did I even come forward in the first place?' I was told the chances of Bismonte getting any jail time was very low so that the best alternative for him was for him ro plead and get a lesser charge. Father got a misdemeanor battery and he never got to register as a sex offender. And for me, he got away," she said.

Torres has filed her suit under a law signed by the governor last month that extends the statute of limitations for reporting childhood sexual assault.

Her attorneys say Bismonte's current whereabouts and status with the church are unknown.

The Archdiocese replied with a statement in a letter: "The Archdiocese has not been served with the lawsuit.

Fr. Honesto Bayranta Bismonte, currently 90 years old, came to the Archdiocese from the Philippines in 1981. The Archdiocese immediately removed him from ministry in April 2002 when it first learned about misconduct that had been reported by the plaintiff in the current lawsuit to the campus minister at her high school in Riverside. The plaintiff reported that she knew Fr. Bismonte through a personal relationship he had with her family in Fontana. The matter was reported to law enforcement and announcements were made at all of the parishes where Fr. Bismonte had served urging anyone with information to come forward. He was arrested by the Fontana Police Department and charged with four counts of sexual assault on minors. Two other victims came forward after the plaintiff made her report. Fr. Bismonte pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of nonsexual battery and was sentenced to two years probation. Fr. Bismonte was added in 2004 to the Archdiocese’ Report to the People of God, which lists priests accused of sexual misconduct involving minors."

"The Archdiocese of Los Angeles again offers its most sincere apology to every person who has been harmed by a member of the Church and reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the support and healing of victim-survivors and to ensuring that parishes, schools and ministries are safe places for everyone in our community," the letter said.