SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Sodomy and brutal spankings in the sacristy of a shrine to St. Francis were part of the job for a single mother who was afraid to resist a contractor with powerful connections in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the woman claims in court.
Jhona Mathews needed a job to support her 3-year-old daughter, and Bill McLaughlin demanded sex as thanks for setting her up as an administrative assistant at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, she claims in Superior Court.
Mathews claims that McLaughlin had an "intimate friendship" with co-defendant Monsignor James Tarantino, formed while the men worked together for two decades at St. Hilary's Catholic Parish in Tiburon.
At this point - 5 pages into the 50-page lawsuit - the allegations take a turn toward the lurid: "When at Saint Hilary's in Tiburon, Monsignor Tarantino welcomed defendant McLaughlin into the 'BNO' (Boys Night Out) fraternal society. At that time, Monsignor Tarantino gave defendant McLaughlin a wooden sex paddle with the following inscription engraved on the paddle:
"To: Bill M.
"From: Fr. T.
"Said wooden paddle (hereinafter referred to as the 'BNO paddle') was subsequently used to 'spank' raw the buttocks of plaintiff after she was hired as the administrative assistant to the rector of the shrine. Defendant McLaughlin took photos of plaintiff's raw buttock and the paddle lying right beside her and sent them to himself and to plaintiff.
"Upon information and belief, defendants [sic] sole use of this paddle was for the purpose of violent and sadistic 'punishment,' paddling the naked rear end of plaintiff during sexual activities."
Mathews sued McLaughlin, the Archdiocese of the City and County of San Francisco, Monsignor James Tarantino, and the Capuchin Franciscan Order of California - Western American Province.
Tarantino hired McLaughlin to work at the shrine to St. Francis in April 2010, and in June that year Tarantino became Vicar General of the Archdiocese, in which job he was "in charge of all real property of ASF [the Archdiocese of San Francisco] as well as the treasury/finances of ASF, including all expenditures of all funds within ASF," according to the lawsuit.
Mathews claims that "(f)rom 2010 through 2013 defendant McLaughlin ran the Shrine of San Francisco for ASF and Capuchin through and with Father Coiro, and at the direction of Monsignor Tarantino."
She was hired in the autumn of 2012. She was a 32-year-old single mother, McLaughlin a 67-year-old divorced father with one son, she says in the complaint.
Mathews claims that the sex and filmed spanking began almost at once and continued for a year, until she refused to participate in any more of McLaughlin's "punishment and repenting" sessions - and was fired.
Early on in her job, Mathews claims, McLaughlin took her to the church sacristy, where sacred vestments and vessels are kept, and spanked the hell out of her.
"Once there, defendant McLaughlin insisted on 'punishing' plaintiff. He told her: 'Bend over ... It's time for punishment!' Defendant McLaughlin pulled down plaintiff's pants, bent her over a railing, and proceeded to spank her with his bare hands. Defendant McLaughlin spanked her aggressively despite plaintiff's complaints that it was painful. This went on for minutes until she pulled her pants up and ran from the sacristy." (Ellipsis in complaint.)