In 2002, the Jesuits settled a lawsuit brought on behalf of two developmentally disabled adult brothers who were sexually abused over the course of 30 years at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, CA. The brothers were employed as dishwashers at Sacred Heart, which served as a retirement home for approximately 60 priests. The brothers alleged they were repeatedly subjected to sodomy, molestation, and false imprisonment over the course of 30 years working at Sacred Heart. Father Hal Ellis was among three priests specifically named in the lawsuit. The other two perpetrators, Edward Burke and Charles Leonard Connor, were convicted of committing lewd acts against dependent adults in related criminal cases. Ellis was deemed an invalid at the time the lawsuit was brought and was unable to participate in the civil proceedings. The ensuing investigation into Sacred Heart revealed that church officials were notified on several instances that abuse was occurring there but did little to stop it and, in some cases, simply relocated perpetrators without notifying law enforcement.
Articles about Father Ellis
- The New York Times - Jesuits to Pay $7.5 Million to Men Who Contended Abuse (06/09/2002)
- The Los Angeles Times - Jesuits Settle Case With Abused Men, Courts: Society of Jesuits Will Pay Two Mentally Retarded Victims, Who Worked at a Bay Area Retreat Center, a total of $7.5 million (05/09/2002)
- The Guardian (U.K.) - Jesuits pay $7.5m to Two Men Abused for 30 Years (06/09/2002)