43 more allege sex abuse by Catholics
Church leaders are accused of negligent supervision
By LISA DEMER
Published: January 14th, 2009 11:36 PM
Last Modified: January 14th, 2009 11:37 PM
A group of 43 Alaska Natives who say they were sexually abused by Catholic priests and church volunteers have sued the Jesuit order, alleging that remote Alaska villages became a worldwide dumping ground for clergy with histories of abuse.
The 78-page lawsuit filed this week in Bethel Superior Court is the latest in an Alaska clergy scandal that involves more than 300 victims and about 40 accused perpetrators, according to Patrick Wall, a former monk and priest who works for a California law firm as an advocate for sex abuse victims.
This week's lawsuit is on behalf of 35 men and eight women, and another one is in the works with another 60 or so victims, said Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa, who is one of the lawyers representing the group.
People keep coming forward, he said.
Some of the events alleged in the stream of lawsuits stretch back into the 1940s, and others happened as recently as 2001. But much of the abuse took place in the 1960s and 1970s, Wall said.
The new suit contends that pedophile priests unsuited to serve anywhere else were dumped on Alaska and put in remote villages with little or no law enforcement, making it virtually impossible for anyone to report them.
There was a calculated effort at the highest levels of the Jesuit order to "'dump' these 'problem priests' in a location in which the priests could avoid detection and continued to sexually abuse countless Native children," the suit says.