Father Peter Covas
Diocese of San Diego
Assigned as follows:
- 1960-1970: Notre Dame High School (Riverside, CA)
- 1971-1981: St. Catherine’s of Alexandria (Riverside, CA)
- 1981-1983: Our Lady of Fatima (San Bernardino, CA)
- 1983-1990: Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral (San Bernardino, CA)
- 1990-1992: Holy Family Church (Hesperia, CA)
- 1992-2002: St. Peter and St. Paul (Alta Loma, CA)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Peter Covas:
Father Peter Covas was ordained a priest in 1957, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of San Diego. He resigned in 1983 as first financial director of the diocese after he loaned $225K of diocesan money to a man who had been convicted of fraud. According to media reports, after a voluntary review of internal files in 2002, the Diocese of San Bernardino turned over to police a list of 20 priests who were allegedly guilty of sexual abuse, including Father Covas.
Father Covas retired in April 2002, amid the accusations. After a yearlong criminal investigation that ended in April 2003, he was not charged with any crimes. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department did release, however, a report which revealed that Father Covas had been arrested twice, in 1987 for public masturbation in an adult bookstore, and in 1988, for disorderly and lewd conduct in public. The Diocese of San Bernardino said it had no knowledge of the arrests. Father Covas’ lawyer, however, stated that he had told then Bishop Philip Straling of his convictions.
In 2003, two men filed a civil suit accusing Father Covas of sexually abusing them as teenagers. One alleged victim was abused from the time he was 14 up until he was 25 years old. The other claimed he was about 15 years old in 1970 when Father Covas began abusing him.
Upon learning of Father Covas’ criminal history, the Diocese barred him from ministry. Less than a year later, though, in 2004, he was reinstated as a retired priest in good standing. He died shortly after in May 2004. His name was included in the Diocese of San Diego’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. His personnel file was released in October 2010.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of San Diego 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 San Diego now have legal options due to a temporary change in the 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.