updated 3/25/2005 1:19:42 AM ET 2005-03-25T06:19:42

The Archdiocese of San Francisco was ordered Thursday to pay $437,000 to a California man who says he was repeatedly fondled by a priest during the 1970s.

The same panel decided last Friday that church officials knew or should have known the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard was abusing young boys, including Dennis Kavanaugh, now 47.

Kavanaugh’s lawsuit was the first of more than 750 against Roman Catholic dioceses in California to go to trial since the state temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for filing sex-abuse claims in 2002.

“A positive statement was made for the survivors, including myself,” Kavanaugh said outside court.

Bishop John Wester said the church would not appeal.

Kavanaugh’s lawyer, Larry Drivon, linked the molestation to a host of problems for Kavanaugh — he dropped out of college, divorced his wife, served time for assault, and felt guilt and shame.

Church attorneys disputed whether the molestation was the sole source of his problems.

Kavanaugh had asked for unspecified damages; a lawyer for the archdiocese said $200,000 would be proper.

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