Priest Tells Parishioners He Was Sexually Abused, Plans to Resign

The Associated Press
August 31, 2004

BOTHELL, Wash. - It was anything but a standard homily - a Roman Catholic priest said he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a boy and will resign rather than undergo a church-ordered psychological assessment.

Parishioners at St. Brendan Catholic Church in this suburb northeast of Seattle were stunned by what they heard from the Rev. Lawrence Minder at three Masses on Saturday and Sunday.

"There was an audible gasp at the Sunday Mass, there was spontaneous crying at the Saturday Mass," said Richard Foudray, 60. "People were devastated."

"My heart just broke when he said he had been raped," said Kathleen Foudray, 58. "When he told us he was resigning his position, I felt like I had a death in the family."

According to churchgoers, Minder, 43, said a priest sexually abused him about 30 years ago and remained on assignment after he reported what had happened.

Minder said he would reject a request to undergo a psychological assessment that would be disclosed to the Archdiocese of Seattle and will resign instead, witnesses said.

Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni said Monday he had received a number of calls about Minder.

"Father Minder is a good priest," Magnoni said. "These reports are extremely troubling to us.

"It's just uncertain as to what Father Minder did and what our response should be."

He confirmed that Minder was asked to undergo a psychological evaluation but would not give any details, saying it was a personnel matter.

Magnoni said archdiocese officials tried without success to contact Minder on Monday, nor did the priest return calls for comment to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Minder, pastor of St. Brendan since 2001, gained public attention in the spring when he agreed to allow a tent city of homeless people on church grounds and lived in the encampment for a few weeks.

Parishioners said he is extremely well liked.

"There weren't many dry eyes in the church," said usher Gregory Schmidt, a member of the parish for 27 years. "People were very upset by it."

In church services Minder neither named the priest or said where he was at the time, but last year he filed a claim accusing the Rev. Richard Scully of abusing him when he was a boy in Yakima, said Russell Mazzola, a lawyer who heads the Yakima Diocese's lay advisory board.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the Amarillo, Texas, Diocese hired Scully in 1989 after the Yakima Diocese sent him to a treatment program for pedophile priests in Jemez Springs, N.M.

The Dallas paper also reported that the Yakima Diocese settled two claims filed against Scully and that Scully recently took a medical retirement.

According to court documents, Scully was sued by a man identified as C.J.C. who said Scully and another priest abused him in 1980 and 1981 when he was an altar boy at St. Paul's Parish in the Yakima Diocese.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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