Woman Speaks to KNDO about Alleged Clergy Sex Abuse

January 10, 2008

YAKIMA, Wash.- It's been more than 47-years since Fran Cuhtahlatah says she was sexually abused by a catholic priest in her Toppenish parish. Wednesday she sat down with KNDO's Kylie Meyer to talk about the abuse.

Cuhtahlatah says she can remember two specific times where Father Michael Simpson sexually abused when she was just ten years old. She says one time even happened in her house.

"He cornered me in the kitchen at my house. I'm the oldest of seven children, and my brothers and sisters were all in the living room. He pushed me into the corner and grabbed me and rubbed his hands all over my body. When one of my siblings asked a question of him from the living room, he ran out of the house," Cuhtahlatah says.

Cuhtahlatah also said, "Another time happened in the church. He (Father Simpson) grabbed my little breasts I had back then, I was only ten years old."

Yesterday (Tuesday) The Catholic Diocese of Yakima announced it's settlement with Cutahlatah and three other women who claimed abuse by Father Simpson.

The settlement includes a lump sum of $200,000, but Cuhtahlatah says she's only getting $25,000 of that money. What upsets her more than the payout, is that the charges were dismissed in court, and the church continues to refer to the four women as alleged victims.


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