Mr. Phillip G. Speers
Diocese of Tucson
Assigned as follows:
- 1999-2000 St. Francis of Assisi School (Yuma, AZ)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Mr. Phillip G. Speers:
According to media reports, Mr. Phillip G. Speers, a former seminary student and teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in Yuma, was accused of abusing at least five girls in the 2nd grade class, in 1999-2000 school year. He was also found to be in possession of child pornography.
He was convicted in two separate trials in 2002 and 2003, but the decisions were later reversed by the Arizona court of appeals. The appellate court ruled that Mr. Speers should have been allowed to call expert witnesses to talk about the implantation of false memories in children, and that he should have been allowed to have friends, family members and co-workers give testimony about his character.
His family has always maintained Mr. Speers’ innocence, contending that he was made a scapegoat by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson during the height of the sexual abuse scandal affecting the Catholic Church, and that the state’s case against him was a witch hunt.
In 2003, the families of the five girls who said Mr. Speers molested them received a $1.8 million payment in 2003 to settle civil claims they had filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, which includes Yuma. The diocese’s insurance paid the settlement.
In August 2007, he was retried and found guilty. He was sentenced to 34 years in prison. Prosecutors said Mr. Speers, in spite of his polish, good looks and fervent supporters, is a dangerous pedophile who inappropriately touched little girls in his classroom, putting his hands inside their clothes and asking one to strip naked in the cloakroom for a video he was making.
In September 2007, the possession of the child pornography charges were dropped.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Tucson in Arizona. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Arizona, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Tucson now have legal options, 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 Arizona and nationwide. We can help.