Father Jerome Henson
Diocese of Orange (Dominican)
- 1977-1981: St. Dominic’s Church (Benicia, CA)
- 1981-1982: St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral (Reno, NV)
- 1982-1983: Military Reserve Chaplain
- 1983-1988: St. Raymond of Penyafort Priory (Spain)
- 1988-1989: St. Vincent Ferrer House (Dominicans)
- 1990-1992: St. Anthony Claret (Anaheim, CA)
- 1992-1996: St. Angela Merici (Brea, CA)
- 1996-2002: St. John the Baptist Church (Costa Mesa, CA)
- 2002-2003: Inactive Leave
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Jerome Henson:
Fr. Jerome Henson was ordained a Dominican priest in 1977, who served in the Diocese of Orange. According to media reports, in 1981, four years after being ordained, he was caught in a compromising position in a graveyard at night with a 13-year-old boy in Sacramento, CA, by a patrolling policeman. The police report stated that the boy was wearing a tank-top and blue athletic-type shorts, leaning against a graveyard fence. The boy had his back to the fence with his hands holding on to the top bar, and his legs suspended in the air draped over Henson’s shoulders. Once Henson caught sight of the patrol unit, he removed the boy’s legs from his shoulders, causing the kid to slam into the ground. No charges were filed against Henson, but he was immediately removed from the Diocese of Dominicans and transferred to the Diocese of Reno, where he stayed for a few years before being sent to Orange.
It was not until two decades later, in 2002 and 2003, that two separate suits were filed against Fr. Henson, accusing him of sexually abusing them as boys. Fr. Henson was head pastor at St. John the Baptist Church in Costa Mesa until the Orange Diocese placed him on inactive leave in 2002 when church officials learned of his police report detailing his 1981 nighttime boneyard tryst.
Throughout the years, 33 victims reported that Fr. Jerome Henson had sexually assaulted them when they were under the age of 14. They received a total of $35M in the settlement by the Diocese of Sacramento. Since 2002, his status as a priest, his whereabouts, and whether he has access to children are unknown.
In 2016, the Diocese of Orange placed him on a “Life of Prayer and Penance”. He is named publicly on Sacramento Diocese’s 2019 list of Credibly Accused Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Orange 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 Orange now have legal options due to a temporary change in California 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.