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  Man Sues Diocese of Spokane, Says Priest Molested Him in 1957
It's the Second Suit to Name Priest Later Removed from Ministry

By Virginia de Leon
Spokesman Review
June 25, 2003

A Spokane man who was allegedly molested by a priest in 1957 filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane.

James Maguire, 61, said he was abused when he was 15 years old by Reinard Beaver, a priest removed from ministry in 1983.

Beaver not only molested him, Maguire said, but also nearly drowned him while the two were swimming in a pool.

This is the second lawsuit in the last two months that names Beaver as a defendant.

It's also the eighth complaint filed since September against the Diocese of Spokane. These lawsuits represent a total of 31 plaintiffs - 28 alleged victims, including one who committed suicide last year, and three spouses.

Attorneys expect more lawsuits against the diocese in the coming months.

"I'm absolutely livid at the hierarchy," said Maguire. "Covering this up has been one of the biggest sins that man has ever committed."

The alleged incident took place 46 years ago when Beaver served as the assistant pastor at St. Augustine, where the Maguires attended Mass.

Maguire said Beaver showed up at his family's house one evening offering to take him and his four siblings swimming. His mother didn't want them to go because it was a school night, but his father insisted that Maguire - the oldest of five kids - accompany the priest.

"My dad believed that the priest is just one step below God," said Maguire.

After leaving the house, Beaver allegedly offered the boy some beer, but Maguire refused to drink. The two went to the swimming pool at Fairchild Air Force Base, which Beaver was able to access because he was a captain in the Army Reserves, Maguire said.

While swimming in the deep end of the pool by the diving board, Beaver wrapped his body around the boy, attempting to touch his private parts, Maguire recalled.

Each time Maguire fought him off, the priest would dunk him and hold him underwater, Maguire said.

"I was afraid of drowning," he said. "I was so tired."

Maguire said he got away and was able to swim to the pool's ladder, but Beaver followed him and pulled his shorts down. Somehow, Maguire was able to escape and got dressed.

On the way home, Beaver again offered him some beer to drink but Maguire turned him down.

"I was in shock," said Maguire, who was a freshman at Gonzaga Prep at the time. "I didn't know what happened to me but I knew it was awful."

Beaver, who is now 74 and lives in Steilacoom, Wash., said this was the first he had heard of the accusation and declined to comment.

The Rev. Steve Dublinski, vicar general for the Spokane Diocese, said he and the diocese's attorneys had yet to see a copy of the lawsuit and were not familiar with the victim.

"If there are any other victims of sexual abuse by priests, we encourage them to contact the diocese so we can assist them in getting counseling and help with the healing process," Dublinski said.

Maguire is the second person to come forward alleging abuse by Beaver. Mike Shea, who was Maguire's classmate at St. Augustine and Gonzaga Prep, filed a lawsuit in May, alleging he was molested during the same period.

Although the two remained close friends throughout the years (Shea was an usher at Maguire's wedding), it was only recently that they learned of their similar experiences with Beaver.

In the years following the swimming pool incident, Maguire started drinking heavily and developed relationship problems, he said. He's now a recovering alcoholic, living in a convalescent home, suffering from cirrhosis.

 
 

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