Brother Mario Cimmarrusti
Archdiocese of Los Angeles (Franciscan)
- 1957-1958: Immaculate Conception (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)
- 1982-1985: St. Mary of the Assumption (Stockton, CA)
- 1985-1993: Our Lady of Guadalupe (Delano, CA)
- 1994-2012: Unknown
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Brother Mario Cimmarrusti:
Br. Mario Cimmarrusti was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1957, and served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Los Angeles. According to media reports, in 1994, he was accused of child sexual abuse at St. Anthony’s Minor Seminary in Santa Barbara, CA, during the 1960s and 70s. In 2006, one of the many allegations was settled in a civil lawsuit filed in 2003.
According to the 2003 lawsuit, Br. Mario Cimmarrusti “screened” students to see if they were vulnerable to abuse by initially fondling them, then targeting for further abuse those who showed embarrassment or arousal. He is said to have silenced these boys by holding their responses over them. Br. Mario Cimmarrusti was accused of telling at least two boys they were overweight and sexually assaulting them after ordering them to come to his room for weigh-ins and so he could and check their thyroid glands. 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. He was accused of sexually assaulting students who were sick in the infirmary and during counseling.
The accusers reported it was clear that Br. Mario Cimmarrusti was sexually aroused as they were getting beat. They described their faces being pressed into the priest’s groin as he prayed for them. They said he would then threaten them with eternal damnation. Two students say they went to school authorities in 1965 and 1966 to report the abuse. One was expelled, the other was told that he imagined the abuse, then bribed to stay, then threatened when he refused the bribes. Some of the priest’s accusers say that other priests and brothers walked in on Br. Mario Cimmarrusti during incidents of abuse, without intervening. By 2012, two dozen former students had come forward with accusations against Mario Cimmarrusti.
Br. Cimmarrusti went from St. Anthony’s to work in Mexico for more than a decade. He was sent to treatment at Servants of the Paraclete in 1981 and 1982, an institution known for treating priests accused of child sexual abuse, but records say it was for alcoholism. He was placed in parish ministry in the Stockton Diocese, followed by the Fresno Diocese, where he was a parish pastor.
In 1993, Cimmarrusti was removed from ministry after former St. Anthony’s students began to emerge with accusations against him. He allegedly admitted to mental health professionals to sexually abusing hundreds of boys.
Mario Cimmarrusti died in 2013. His whereabouts, status as a priest, and whether he had access to children from 1994 to his death, are unknown. He was named publicly on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ 2004 list of Clergy Credibly 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 Archdiocese of Los Angeles 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 Archdiocese of Los Angeles now have legal options due to a voluntary compensation fund created by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 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.