Another sequel to Lords of Bakersfield: Mistriel sues the city, county and Catholic charities of Fresno, alleging he failed to protect him from sexual abuse as a minor


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The Lords of Bakersfield: You may have heard the 1980s legend about prominent local men preying on teenagers for sexual favors – resulting, on a few occasions, in homicides.

Now a new development tied to this legend: Forty years after one of the most infamous murder cases in Kern County history, new details about this case are at the heart of a lawsuit against Kern County , City of Bakersfield and Catholic Charities.

Robert Glen Mistriel, now 57, convicted along with another man, Roy Matthew Camenisch, for the 1981 murder of county personnel director Ed Buck has served almost 38 years in prison.

He’s been paroled and now he’s going after the entities that he says led him into the life that produced this heinous crime.

Mistriel, who says he first worked as a gay prostitute when he was 11, said the abusers were important.

“Well, (it involved) some pretty prestigious politicians in Bakersfield,” Mistriel said. “There were Superior Court judges, wealthy businessmen protected by district attorneys and law enforcement people like that. Lots of great people are involved.

Among Mistriel’s claims: The late San Felipe Boys Home in Bakersfield, associated with Catholic Charities, allowed adult men to take minors under judicial supervision from the boys’ home, apparently to work for them, but rather for them. sexually abuse.

During his murder trial in 1983, Mistriel said one of those men was Stan Harper, close friend and political campaign manager of then prosecutor Ed Jagels.

Mistriel also alleges that he spoke about the abuse to his county juvenile probation officer and that she did not act as a mandatory reporter. This is the basis of a lawsuit that the Kern County Oversight Board is due to consider on Tuesday.

This probation officer testified at Mistriel’s murder trial in 1983 that Mistriel told him he was being assaulted by an adult male.

If this all sounds far-fetched, consider the findings of the State Board of Parole Hearings, which unanimously voted to grant Mistriel his freedom two years ago.

“It would now be considered a human trafficking case,” said Commissioner Mary Thornton. “You were a victim for a while with a number of different people. And that doesn’t excuse a life of crime, but it does bring it to light today… (not appreciated) in the 80s. ”

Chairman Commissioner Neil Schneider said: “Exposure to a deviant peer (behavior) leads to an increase in deviant behavior. … Your deviant peers ended up being a whole bunch of grown men. … (In this case) the young miner was exploited by a gang of powerful and well-to-do adults.

Mistriel’s retrial lists the plaintiffs as well as all defendants, known and unknown, like John Does.

Additional documents list Mistriel as plaintiff and defendants as “Bakersfield District Attorney”, “Bakersfield Juvenile Probation Service”, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fresno, City of Bakersfield and County by Kern.

AB 218, which deals with childhood sexual abuse, effectively extends the statute of limitations to include cases like this, Mistriel’s lawyers say.

City attorney Ginny Gennaro said the city was serviced last week and the case was referred to the city’s outside lawyer. She called it a “vanilla complaint” which did not specify how the city could have jurisdiction or be involved in the boys’ home which was allegedly at fault.

Jeff Negrete, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, which allegedly operated the now defunct San Felipe Boys Home in Bakersfield, which is at the center of Mistriel’s allegations, referred questions to the Diocese of Fresno. Diocese spokesman Chandler Marquez did not immediately respond to calls.

Appeals to Kern County attorney Margo Raison were not immediately referred.

Mistriel was legally required to file a claim with the county before filing a complaint, which he did. The county rejected the claim, according to Mistriel’s attorney Sam Dordulian. Efforts to reach the lawyer on Thursday were unsuccessful.

This is the case that simply won’t go away even 40 years later, and if it continues it could become uncomfortable and costly.

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