Father Mario Cimmarusti
Diocese of Oakland
Assigned as follows:
- 1957-1958 Immaculate Conception, St. Mary’s (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)
- 1981 Hazelden Foundation (Center City, MN)
- 1981-1982 Servants of the Paraclete, St. Michael’s, Therapeutic Comm. (St. Louis, MO)
- 1982-1985 St. Mary of the Assumption (Stockton, CA)
- 1985-1993 Our Lady of Guadalupe (Delano, CA)
- 1993-2004 Old Mission San Miguel (San Miguel, CA)
- 2004-2009 San Damiano (Danville, CA)
- 2009-2011 Elder Care Facility (MO)
- 2012 Elder Care Center (CA)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Mario Cimmarusti:
Father Mario Cimmarusti was a priest of the Franciscan order. He worked in the Dioceses of Stockton and Fresno. He attended St. Anthony’s in the 1940s, and in the 1960s and 1970s, he served at St. Anthony’s as prefect of discipline, head of the infirmary, teacher and choir assistant. According to media reports, he may have sexually abused more than 250 boys, ages 13-18, many of them at St. Anthony’s Minor Seminary in Santa Barbara, in the 1960s and 1970s.
Two former students said they went to rector Father Xavier Harris, in 1965 and 1966 to report that Father Cimmarrusti had sexually abused them. One of them was expelled, the other said Father Harris bribed him to stay at St. Anthony’s. Father Cimmarrusti was sent to work in Mexico for more than a decade. He was also sent to treatment for alcoholism from 1981-1982. He was then placed in parish ministry in the Dioceses of Stockton, then Fresno, where he was a parish pastor.
In 1993, Father Cimmarrusti was removed from ministry after former St. Anthony’s students began accusing him of child sexual abuse and in 2003, he was named in a civil lawsuit. In 2006, a settlement was reached in a case involving Father Cimmarrusti and seven other priests accused of sexually abusing students at St. Anthony’s Seminary High School, the Santa Barbara Boys Choir and the Santa Barbara Mission.
Named in a 2004 lawsuit, Father Cimmarrusti is said to have targeted mostly Freshman boys. He “screened” them to see if they were vulnerable to abuse by fondling them, then targeted for further abuse, those who showed embarrassment or arousal. He is accused of telling at least two boys they were overweight. Under the guise of checking their weight and thyroid glands, he ordered them to come to his room and sexually assaulted them. 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.
Father Cimmarrusti is accused of sexually assaulting sick students who were in the infirmary, and during counseling. He reportedly ordered students to strip from the waist down, to bend over his lap, and to endure violent spankings that went on for 10 to 20 minutes, during which time Father Cimmarrusti was visibly sexually aroused. Afterwards, he would pray for his victims while pressing their faces into his groin. He would then threaten them with eternal damnation.
At least two dozen former students have come forward alleging sexual abuse by Father Cimmarrusti between 1962 and 1969. He reportedly admitted to mental health professionals to sexually abusing hundreds of boys, though his attorney stated that he denied all accusations in May 2012.
Father Cimmarrusti’s last known address was San Damiano Retreat House in Danville, California in the Diocese of Oakland. In 2004, his name was included on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ list of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse. From 1994 to his death in 2012, his whereabouts were unknown.
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