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  $20 Million Abuse Suit Names Priest
A Portland Man Claims He and Three Friends Were Molested in the 1970s by the Rev. Donald Durand

By Ashbel S. Green tonygreen@news.oregonian.com
The Oregonian [Portland OR]
April 27, 2004

A Portland man has filed a $20 million lawsuit claiming that a Roman Catholic priest molested him and three friends when they were boys in the early 1970s.

The man says he was a student at St. Francis Assisi School in Portland when the Rev. Donald Durand repeatedly molested him between 1971 and 1973.

The Oregonian is not naming the man because he is an alleged sexual assault victim. He said Durand not only fondled him but also required him and his friends to disrobe, take a sauna with him and wrestle with him.

The lawsuit was filed by Portland attorneys Gary A. Bisaccio and Randall Vogt.

Durand, 70, retired in 2001, according to a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Portland.

"Father Durand adamantly denies that he sexually abused (him)," said Bud Bunce, a church spokesman.

Durand was pastor at St. Francis from 1970 to 1983. Ordained in 1958, Durand worked in Salem and Corvallis before St. Francis. He later worked in Hillsboro and Silverton before taking his last post as pastor of St. Clare in Southwest Portland in 1992.

The Portland Archdiocese announced in February that it had spent about $53 million to settle with more than 130 people who have claimed to have been molested by priests and other church officials.

About 50 cases remained unsettled.

Although a few other dioceses around the country face more accusers than Portland, only the Boston Archdiocese has paid more money in settlements.

The accusations against Duran mean that 39 priests have been named in lawsuits against the Portland Archdiocese, which covers Western Oregon. Additional accusations have been leveled against as many two dozen anonymous priests, church and lay officials.

Three priests have been accused in the Baker Diocese, which covers the portions of Oregon east of the Cascade Mountains.

Ashbel "Tony" Green: 503-221-8202; tonygreen@news.oregonian.com

 
 

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