Seattle U. Identifies 2nd Accused Priest
By Scott Gutierrez
October 12, 2006
Seattle University officials have identified a second Jesuit priest and former faculty member who was accused of sexually abusing a minor.
Englebert Axer, who taught at the university from 1956 to 1987 and died in 1989, was accused of abusing a boy during a summer ministry in Northern California in 1956.
The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, which also covers Washington, recently notified the university of the allegation, according to a statement sent Tuesday to faculty, staff and students.
He is one of two former Seattle University professors who had been accused of sexual abuse, including Michael Toulouse, who taught at the university from 1950 until his death in 1976. A lawsuit against the Oregon Province in federal court alleges that Toulouse sexually abused multiple victims.
Victims advocates held a news conference outside Seattle University last week and demanded full disclosure from Jesuits about priests accused of sexual abuse.
School officials referred to Axer's case but said they would not identify him until they notified people with whom he had ministered.
The university knows of no others victimized by Axer or any allegations that occurred on campus, according to Tuesday's statement.
The Oregon Province already has been in contact with the victim and his family, according to the statement.
The Rev. John Whitney, provincial supervisor of the Oregon Province, said last week that Jesuits have spent $8.5 million to settle more than 25 cases of alleged abuse in the four years that he has led the province. An additional 40 or so cases, mostly from the mid-1980s, are under investigation.
Axer's name has been removed from Seattle University's endowed chair in philosophy,
In a statement released last week, Seattle University officials said they will "always disclose the names of any priest, living or deceased, whom we have reason to believe has sexually abused minors."
Seattle University set up a phone line for anyone who wants to confidentially report allegations of misconduct or abuse on campus. The number is 206-296- 6272. People also can report online with forms available at www. seattleu.edu/victimassistance.
The victim assistance coordinator for the Oregon Province can be reached at 509-939-9140.
P-I reporter Scott Gutierrez can be reached at 206-448-8334 or email@example.com.
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