|Deadline Nears to Report Jesuit Abuse
October 3, 2009
YAKIMA, Wash. — A deadline is pending for people alleging they were abused by a Jesuit priest or brother at an Indian boarding school in Okanogan County or other locations around the Northwest during the 1960s.
Alleged victims must come forward by Nov. 30 to file a claim against the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province (a Jesuit Order of the Catholic Church). The deadline was set by a federal court in Portland.
Because the Oregon Province filed for bankruptcy protection in February, a judge has ruled that claimants must file a form before the November deadline, or they could lose their rights to claim physical, sexual or mental misconduct against the Society.
Several hundred people have alleged abuse by Jesuits assigned to work in missions, urban areas, parishes, schools and churches in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Alaska, reported several attorneys, including Blaine Tamaki of Yakima, who represents some of the claimants.
About 200 claims were settled over a period of years by the Jesuits before bankruptcy proceedings began.
Many of the alleged victims, now adults, were Native American children living at remote missions and on other reservations in Washington.
Yakama tribal members are among those filing suit, alleging that they were abused at St. Mary's Mission near Omak, Wash., an Indian boarding school in Okanogan County.
The Yakamas' claims were originally raised in a lawsuit filed last year in U.S. District Court by Tamaki.
For more information on obtaining a claim form, write the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province Case, c/o BMC Group Inc., P.O. Box 3020, Chanhassen, Minn., 55317. Or call 888-909-0100, or visit www.bmcgroup.com/sjop.
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