More Abuse Claims Filed against Church
By Mary Beth Smetzer
Fairbanks News-Miner [Alaska]
February 23, 2006
An amended complaint filed in Bethel Superior Court on Tuesday adds eight new complainants alleging they were abused as children in rural communities by a Roman Catholic volunteer or cleric.
Six complainants, James Doe 40-45, name Joseph Lundowski, a former Trappist monk, now deceased, as their abuser. Two men, James Doe 13 and James Doe 41, claim that they also were molested by the Rev. George S. Endal, a Jesuit priest, now deceased.
The latter two complaints add up to three sexual abuse claims against Endal. The first one was filed last May by Jean Doe 1, alleging she was abused by Endal over three years beginning when she was 9 years old.
Defendants named in the amended lawsuit include the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese, the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, and Alaska, the Catholic Archbishop of Anchorage, Anton Smario, and the Franciscan Friars of California.
In response to the latest complaints, Ronnie Rosenberg, human resources director for the Fairbanks Diocese, said "Our primary focus is working on healing strategies. The bishop is committed to doing outreach both to the victims and also affected communities."
The instances of abuse in some Western Alaska communities, Rosenberg said, compounds the sorrow of more than one person. "They all have families and friends and it becomes an injury to the community.
"We are doing every thing we can do at present to prevent anything like this from happening again," Rosenberg added.
The latest filings bring the overall child sexual abuse civil suits filed to the 100 mark, said Ken Roosa, Anchorage attorney for the plaintiffs.
"It has been shocking to see the numbers continue to grow," Roosa said. "So many of the men who were abused by Joseph Lundowski, roughly 24 percent, have contacted me from prison."
Mary Beth Smetzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 459-7546.
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