7 Men Join Suit Alleging Sex Abuse by Seaside Priest
A Total of 10 Plaintiffs Are Accusing the Cleric and Various Entities of Thecatholic Church
By Gillian Gaynair
March 31, 2000
Seven more Oregon men have come forward claiming that a priest sexually molested them and physically abused one of them when they were children at three Catholic parishes and at St. Mary's Home for Boys.
In total, 10 men, ages 39 to 61, are part of a second amended lawsuit filed Thursday in Multnomah Circuit Court. Each seeks $2 million in general damages and $750,000 in economic damages against the Rev. Maurice Grammond, the Archdiocese of Portland, St. Boniface Catholic Church in Sublimity, Portland's Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, Seaside's Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church and St. Mary's Home for Boys. They claim sexual battery of a child, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.
The suit says the archdiocese and St. Mary's knew that Grammond had sexually molested the children, who were altar boys, but didn't address it or notify other parishioners. For that, each plaintiff seeks $1.3 million in damages.
The first man filed suit against Grammond in December. A month later, two more joined. Since then, seven others have come forward. Most of the plaintiffs are originally from Seaside, where Grammond was assigned for 17 years.
"As far as I know, this is the most extensive allegation of clergy abuse in the history of Oregon," said David Slader, attorney for nine of the 10 plaintiffs.
A spokesman for the archdiocese declined to comment.
Grammond, 79, lives in the Alzheimer's unit at Encore Senior Village in Gresham. His attorney could not be reached Thursday afternoon for comment.
Under Oregon's statute of limitations in sexual assault cases, an adult can seek compensation for child abuse for as long as three years after he realizes the effect the abuse has had on his life or until he is 24 years old.
The lawsuit says that between about 1950 and 1970, Grammond enticed the boys to engage in sexual acts with him. They occurred on numerous occasions and in different places, some over a period of years.
Emma Dennis, executive director of St. Mary's, said Thursday she had heard only this week that a plaintiff had been a resident. "We need to make sure we do what's in the best interest of this person," she said.
Slader said his clients were 9 or 10 when they were allegedly molested.
"Some of these men never told anyone until they told me," he said. "They didn't even tell their wives."
You can reach Gillian Gaynair at 503-221-8269 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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