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  Bothell Priest an Abuse Victim, He Says
Shocked Parishioners Told He'll Refuse an Evaluation, Will Quit

By Michelle Nicolosi michellenicolosi@seattlepi.com
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
August 31, 2004

The parishioners at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Bothell got a shock this weekend: Instead of delivering a typical sermon, the Rev. Lawrence Minder told parishioners at three Masses Saturday and Sunday that he was sexually abused about 30 years ago by a priest.

He told the churchgoers that despite the fact that he reported the abuse, the alleged abuser wasn't removed from duty.

Minder, 43, also said he had been asked to undergo a psychological assessment that would be disclosed to the Archdiocese of Seattle and that he will refuse to do so and plans to resign, witnesses said.

"This came as a bombshell. We're all devastated," said parishioner Richard Foudray, 60. "There was an audible gasp at the Sunday Mass there was spontaneous crying at the Saturday Mass. People were devastated."

Seattle Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni said he fielded a number of calls about Minder's announcements yesterday, but said the archdiocese has no information about Minder's statements. He confirmed that the archdiocese has asked Minder to undergo psychological evaluation. He said he can't discuss why the evaluation was requested because it is a personnel matter.

The archdiocese tried to contact Minder but by 4:30 p.m. yesterday had not heard from him, said Magnoni. Minder also did not return calls for comment on this story.

"Father Minder is a good priest," Magnoni said. "These reports are extremely troubling to us." At the moment, he said, "it's just uncertain as to what Father Minder did and what our response should be. ... He hasn't contacted us."

Minder spent a few months in the news media spotlight last spring when he helped bring the Tent City for homeless people to Bothell. He lived in the Tent City himself for a few weeks.

Minder did not name the person who allegedly abused him, nor the diocese that handled the claim, but according to two people at the Yakima Diocese, Minder lodged an abuse claim against a priest there.

Minder alleged he was abused by the Rev. Richard Scully as a teen, said Russell Mazzola, an attorney who serves as chairman of the Yakima Diocese's lay advisory board. Minder wrote to the diocese about the matter in 2003 and it was referred to the lay advisory board, Mazzola said.

It is unclear when Minder originally made his allegation.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the Amarillo Diocese hired Scully in 1989 after the Yakima Diocese sent him to a facility in Jemez Springs, N.M., that treats sexual offenders. The paper 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 he was abused by Scully and another priest in 1980 and 1981 when he was an altar boy at St. Paul's Parish in the Yakima Diocese. According to the documents, "the abuse consisted of fondling and masturbatory acts performed on C.J.C. by the priests."

Minder became pastor of St. Brendan in 2001. Parishioners said he is extremely well liked and his announcements this weekend were met with dead silence -- then tears.

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

"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."

P-I reporter Michelle Nicolosi can be reached at 206-448-8217 or michellenicolosi@seattlepi.com

 
 

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