Br. Mario Cimmarrusti- Diocese of Fresno

Brother Mario Cimmarrusti

Diocese of Fresno (Franciscan)

Mario Cimmarrusti Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1957

Removed: 1993

Died: 2013

Assignment History:

  • 1957-1958: Immaculate Conception (Phoenix, AZ)
  • 1958-1965: St. Francis Minor Seminary (Troutdale, OR)
  • 1965-1970: St. Anthony’s Minor Seminary (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • 1970-1981: Mexican Missions, Guaymas (Sonora, Mexico)
  • 1982-1985: St. Mary of the Assumption (Stockton, CA)
  • 1985-1993: Our Lady of Guadalupe (Delano, CA)
  • 1994-2012: Unknown

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Brother Mario Cimmarrusti:

Br. Mario Cimmarrusti was ordained a priest of the Franciscan Order in 1957, who served in the Diocese of Fresno. According to media reports, in 1994, he was accused of child sexual abuse at St. Anthony’s Minor Seminary in Santa Barbara, CA, during the 1960s and 70s. According to the 2003 lawsuit, Fr. Cimmarrusti “screened” students to see if they were vulnerable to abuse by initially fondling them, then targeting for further abuse those who showed embarrassment or arousal.

Br. Cimmarrusti is said to have silenced these boys by holding their responses over them. He was accused of telling at least two boys they were overweight and sexually assaulting them after ordering them to come to his room for weigh-ins and so he could and check their thyroid glands. He reportedly ordered students to his room for “hernia exams,” found “medical reasons” to rub lotions on students’ genitals, and dried students off after baths.

Br. Cimmarrusti was accused of sexually assaulting students who were sick in the infirmary and during counseling.  The accusers reported it was clear that he was sexually aroused as they were getting beat. They described their faces being pressed into Cimmarrusti’s groin as he prayed for them. They said he would then threaten them with eternal damnation. Two students say they went to school authorities in 1965 and 1966 to report the abuse. One was expelled, the other was told that he imagined the abuse, then bribed to stay, then threatened when he refused the bribes. Some of Cimmarrusti’s accusers say that other priests and brothers walked in on Cimmarrusti during incidents of abuse, without intervening.

Br. Cimmarrusti went from St. Anthony’s to work in Mexico for more than a decade. He was sent to treatment at Servants of the Paraclete in 1981 and 1982, an institution known for treating priests accused of child sexual abuse, but records say it was for alcoholism. He was placed in parish ministry in the Stockton Diocese, followed by the Fresno Diocese, where he was a parish pastor.

In 1993, Cimmarrusti was removed from ministry after former St. Anthony’s students began to emerge with accusations against him. He allegedly admitted to mental health professionals to sexually abusing hundreds of boys.

In 2006, one of the many allegations against Br. Cimmarrusti was settled in a civil lawsuit filed in 2003. By 2012, two dozen former students had come forward with accusations against Fr. Cimmarrusti. His last known address was the San Damiano Retreat House in Danville, California. He died in 2013.

Fr. Cimmarrusti was named publicly on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Report to the People of God: Clergy Sexual Abuse Archdiocese of Los Angeles in the “Religious Order Priests and Brothers” section.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Fresno in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Fresno now have legal options due to a temporary change in California law, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us toll-free at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.