More Victims Added to Priest Abuse Lawsuit
By Mary Beth Smetzer
Fairbanks News-Miner [Alaska]
August 17, 2005
A lawyer has filed four more civil sexual abuse lawsuits against two now-deceased Catholic priests who served in Western Alaska, bringing the total to 10 complaints.
One plaintiff, a man, filed an abuse claim against the Rev. Segundo Llorente, while two men and a woman filed claims accusing the Rev. Francis Nawn of molestation. Llorente and Nawn were both Jesuit priests.
The latest legal paperwork, filed Tuesday in Bethel Superior Court, pushes the total number of complaints to more than 85 that have been filed in little more than two years against Catholic clergy and affiliated staff by Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa.
Two of the men and a woman accuse Nawn of molesting them as children during the 1960s and '70s in Sheldon Point, now known as Nunam Iqua, or in Scammon Bay.
The amended complaint now lists 10 plaintiffs--Jack Doe 1-9 and Jackie Doe 1--two with allegations against Llorente and nine against Nawn.
Roosa said the female plaintiff, Jackie Doe, is the first woman to accuse Nawn of abuse.
"Nawn is the first bi-gender priest molester we have found in Alaska," Roosa said.
Jackie Doe said she was molested in Sheldon Point from 1968-1971, when she was 6 to 9 years old, and that Nawn also took nude photos of her and other young girls.
"Given the time that Llorente and Nawn were in Alaska, and given the small number of people who have come forward, I believe there are more victims," Roosa said. "I urge them to come forward in some way, after living for so long with that terrible secret."
Each of the plaintiffs is seeking more than $100,000 in damages from the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska, the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, and the Society of Jesus, Alaska.
Ronnie Rosenberg, human resources director for the Fairbanks Diocese, also urges people to come forward and tell their stories.
"We need to get a scope of it all. They don't need to file a lawsuit but tell us their story and tell us what transpired," Rosenberg said, adding, "some people have done that."
Rosenberg said the church is always saddened to hear new allegations. In addition to working toward healing, the church is focusing on preventive education for all diocesan staff members, children and parents.
"Whatever we can do to make sure the church is a safe place," Rosenberg said.