“Independent Compensation Plan” Created by Archdiocese Deems Abuse Claim Eligible for Compensation
(Los Angeles, CA) – Courageous clergy sexual abuse survivor Aimee Galicia Torres has refused an offer from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Independent Compensation Program (ICP) for abuse she suffered as a child by Father Honesto Bayranta Bismonte. Under the provisions of the ICP, by accepting the offer Torres would have to dismiss her lawsuit under the Child Victims Act (AB 218) and cease her pursuit of full disclosure of the Archdiocese’s knowledge of any of Father Bismonte’s other abuses or alleged abuses.
“I am proceeding with litigation,” said Torres. “The settlement offer from the Archdiocese is not going to magically erase everything that happened to me. It is not about the money; it is about the principle and getting to the truth about what the Archdiocese of Los Angeles knew and didn’t know about Father Bismonte’s previous history of child sexual abuse.”
On December 21, 2019, Torres filed a child sexual abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under California’s Child Victims Act (AB 218) and, for the first time, spoke publicly about the abuse she endured as a child. Aimee’s filing not only had a significant reaction in the Filipino community in Southern California but resonated with the Filipino community abroad.
“Father Bismonte’s abuse of multiple children in Southern California did not happen in a vacuum. Through the reassignment process, he was able to leave his trail in the Philippines behind without accountability,” said attorney Mike Reck. “Church officials moved Father Bismonte to Southern California, where he was unleashed on unsuspecting communities that revered him for his cultural heritage and status as a Catholic clergy member. He used that power to abuse children. This community deserves to know how this was allowed to happen.”
Father Honesto Bismonte was ordained in the Philippines in 1954, where he has since been accused of sexually abusing children. In 1982, Father Bismonte was reassigned to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he still resides today.
“This lawsuit carries a message to survivors around the world that what happened to you was wrong,” said Reck. “It not your fault, and there are people who will believe you and support you.”