Abuse Victim Sues Spokane and Yakima Dioceses
July 2, 2013
A man filed a lawsuit in Spokane County Superior Court on Tuesday against the Catholic Diocese of Yakima and the Diocese of Spokane. The suit claims child abuse by a Yakima priest and negligence by the Spokane Diocese.
Father Joseph Sondergeld, who is now dead, allegedly sexually abused the victim in 1961 when he was about nine years old, according to the suit. At the time, Sondergeld was a priest at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Roslyn, Wash., in the Yakima Diocese.
The victim, who was an altar boy at the church, alleges Sondergeld molested him on church property.
Sondergeld worked as a priest in the Spokane Diocese from 1916 to 1951. The victim alleges the Spokane Diocese knew Sondergeld had a history of child abuse, but negligently decided to transfer him rather than reporting his crimes to the proper authorities, according to the suit.
The Spokane Diocese lists Sondergeld as an “admitted, proven, or credibly accused perpetrator” of child abuse. This is the third lawsuit against Sondergeld for sexual abuse of children, according to a news release.