Former Monk Named in Fairbanks Diocese Sex Abuse Suit

The Associated Press, carried in [Fairbanks AK]
November 11, 2004

FAIRBANKS (AP) A lawsuit filed against the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese claims that a former Trappist monk sexually abused 28 boys in three western Alaska villages in the 1960s and 1970s.

In a separate suit, two more men have come forward with allegations of abuse against a deceased priest who worked in the diocese, bringing the total in that case to 18.

The 28 anonymous plaintiffs from Hooper Bay, Stebbins and St. Michael allege Joseph Lundowski engaged them in oral sex, and many say they were forcibly sodomized and required to perform oral sex or masturbation on Lundowski.

In exchange, Lundowski gave them candy, money stolen from the collection plate, cooked food, baked goods, beer, sacramental wine, brandy and/or better catechism grades, according to the lawsuit, which represents one side of a legal argument.

The suit named the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese and the Society of Jesus Oregon Province and its Alaska subsidiary as defendants. Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa represents the plaintiffs. They are seeking more than $50,000 each in damages.

The lawsuit says Lundowski was transferred instead dismissed when problems began to appear.

"Although Bishop Francis Gleeson was aware of the problem posed by Joseph Lundowski, and the danger he posed to male children, he was not discharged from his duties; rather, he was transferred to Hooper Bay with Father (George) Endal in 1965, where he continued to molest and sexually assault boys and young men."

The complaint claims the molestation continued until 1975, when Lundowski was caught in an illicit act with one of the boys.

Lundowski was dismissed from serving in the Fairbanks diocese and left the state. He is believed to be deceased.

Bob Groseclose, attorney for the diocese, said the diocese first learned of Lundowski when Roosa contacted the diocese last July.

The diocese has been unsuccessful in locating Lundowski or ascertaining whether he is alive or dead. He was reportedly ill after suffering a stroke in the early 1990s. He would be in his mid-80s if still alive.

Meanwhile, two men have been added to the 16 plaintiffs of another civil lawsuit against the Fairbanks diocese, first filed in June 2003, alleging sexual abuse by the Rev. Jules Convert, a Jesuit priest now deceased, who ministered in several villages within the sprawling missionary diocese.

The Society of Jesus has settled with the first 16 plaintiffs.

The new lawsuit also alleges that documents relating to sexual abuse of children by priests and religious workers in the diocese were destroyed in fall 2002 and February 2003 by diocesan officers and employees.

Groseclose denied that anything related to sex-abuse allegations was destroyed when the files were cleaned up and organized by the diocesan chancellor, the Rev. Richard Case.

"Bishop (Donald) Kettler is very much concerned for all of these, (complainants) and prays for healing," Groseclose said. "It is very tragic, and we are going to do what we can to sort it out."


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