Fr. Lynn Richard Caffoe – Diocese of Orange

Father Lynn Richard Caffoe

Diocese of Orange

Ordained: 1971

Laicized: 2006

Died: 2009

Assigned as follows:

  • 1971-1975      St. Callistus (Garden Grove, CA)
  • 1976-1982      Our Lady of Peace (Sepulveda, CA)
  • 1982-1986      St. Bede the Venerable (La Canada, CA)
  • 1987-1991      St. James (Redondo Beach, CA)
  • 1992                Divine Saviour (Los Angeles, CA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Lynn Richard Caffoe:

According to media reports, in January 1975, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles received notice that Father Lynn Richard Caffoe sexually abused altar boys at his first parish assignment. Faculty had been concerned during his seminary training at St. John’s in Camarillo. File summaries indicate that Father Caffoe sexually abused at least 15 victims during his career as a priest. He has been accused of abusing children in every parish in which he was assigned, including St. Callistus in what is now the Diocese of Orange. He was suspected of sequestering young boys in his room, recording their crotches on videotape, then running up charges for phone sex while the boy was in his presence.

Father Caffoe was removed from ministry in May 1991 and sent for treatment at St. Luke Institute from 1991 to 1992. His psychologist filed a Suspected Child Abuse Report, and notified law enforcement. Shortly after, Father Caffoe disappeared from the Archdiocese without notice. 

In February 1994, a boy reported to Vicar for Clergy that Father Caffoe had abused him in 1988 through 1993, beginning at St. James parochial school and continuing while the boy was at Bishop Montgomery High School and Father Caffoe was under a St. Luke’s Institute “continuing care contract.” In 2003, a newspaper reporter found him working at a homeless mission two blocks from a Salinas elementary school. 

Father Caffoe’s name was included on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ 2004 list of priests accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. He was laicized in January 2006. In September of that year, he asked an appeals court to block the release of his church personnel file to four people who had accused him of molesting them as children. He said disclosure of the confidential files to plaintiffs suing him over the alleged abuse would violate his rights. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered Cardinal Roger Mahony to turn over the documents to the county grand jury, and a trial judge ruled they must go to the Father Caffoe plaintiffs. The suit was settled in 2007. 

Cardinal Mahony’s letter to the Vatican was quoted in a court filing by four people who said they were victimized by Father Caffoe. Their lawyers argued that the letter and other documents, showed that Cardinal Mahony and other officials of the Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles misrepresented the breadth and seriousness of the priest abuse reports they received in the years before they moved to fully address the molestation problem.

“Let me be very clear on this: The cardinal did not turn over this information willingly,” said one attorney who represented plaintiffs in the Father Caffoe case. “He was forced to by the courts. It is only because of this civil lawsuit filed by these brave victims that we uncovered all the salacious details about what the archdiocese knew about Father Caffoe molesting children.”

Father Caffoe’s personnel files were released in January 2013. He is believed to have lived in San Diego from 2008 until his death in late 2009.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Orange.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Orange, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Orange now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.