Last Update: 7/13/2020
Three men and one boy have accused a youth leader at Saratoga Federated Church of sexual abuse. The four victims reported the abuse directly to the church, claiming that 31-year-old Joseph Silva Jr. had abused them over the past five years. The three adult accusers said they were minors when the abuse occurred.
Silva was arrested on Thursday, May 9. Deputies say that when he was arrested, he admitted to exchanging sexually explicit photos with the victims through text messages and social media. Detectives are also currently investigating at least two other potential victims, who are minors.
Silva was booked into the Main Jail in San Jose and has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, lewd acts, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and sexual battery.
In addition to serving as a youth leader at Saratoga Federal Church, Silva also works as a teacher at a Mandarin Immersion Program held at the West Valley Presbyterian Church in Cupertino.
This investigation is ongoing. Sheriff’s detectives are working together with church leaders to determine if there are any other victims. Anyone with information related to this case has been asked to call the sheriff’s office at 408-808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431.
Attorney contributor Bobby Thompson is experienced in representing church sex abuse victims in civil lawsuits. Below, we’ve included some general information kindly offered by him regarding the legal options of survivors of clergy sex abuse in California:
Bobby explained, “In September 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new bill that extends the civil statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse. Previously, survivors only had three years to file a civil lawsuit. This new bill extends that window to 10 years from the time the abuse occurred, or 3 years from the time that an injury or illness related to the abuse is discovered. ”
“This means that many survivors of clergy sex abuse who previously thought they had missed their chance at justice can now file a lawsuit. Survivors of clergy sex abuse often have the right to file a lawsuit against their church or religious organization. These lawsuits are available in cases of negligence, such as the church ignoring previous complaints of sexual misconduct or harassment by the abuser,” he concluded.