Ex-Fort Lewis Priest Sued; Former Chaplain Hit with More Allegations of Abuse. Another Man Sues a Former Fort Lewis Chaplain, Alleging the Catholic Priest Molested Him Repeatedly in the 1980s

By Steve Maynard
News Tribune
January 14, 2005

A Thurston County man says a Catholic priest who was a chaplain at Fort Lewis sexually abused him during the 1980s while he was a teenager.

The man is suing the priest, the Rev. Reinard Beaver, and the people he says should have been watching: the Archdiocese for the Military Services, the archbishop of Seattle and the bishop of Spokane.

Beaver, who lives in Steilacoom, has been sued by at least three other men who say he abused them. He was removed from public ministry in 1988 after complaints surfaced.

The plaintiff is anonymous in the Pierce County Superior Court lawsuit, identified only as John Doe.

He says he regularly attended Mass at Fort Lewis in 1982 with his family, and that Beaver used his status as the family's chaplain to groom him for sexual abuse.

The lawsuit alleges Beaver sexually used and exploited him on a systematic basis beginning in 1983 - at the family's house and during a trip to Walla Walla for a church service. The boy was 12 or 13 when the abuse started, said his attorney, Mike Pfau.

Beaver resumed abusing the boy in 1984 when his family returned to Fort Lewis after being stationed in Germany and continued the molestations until 1986, the lawsuit alleges.

Beaver was a chaplain at Fort Lewis from 1960 to 1983, the suit says. It doesn't explain how he would have had access to the boy after that time.

Beaver said Thursday he left the Army in 1983 and retired in Steilacoom.

"All these things are pretty ambiguous," said Beaver, 75. "I can't make much comment without knowing who it is."

The lawsuit alleges Beaver was under the control and authority of the Seattle Archdiocese, the Spokane Diocece and the Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington, D.C. Each knew or should have known about Beaver's sexual abuse of young children and was negligent in its supervision, the suit says.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese for the Military Services referred comment to one of its attorneys, who did not return a call seeking comment. Seattle Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni said Beaver was not supervised by or under the authority of the Seattle archbishop.

"We do not believe we should be named in this lawsuit,' Magnoni said.

Pfau said the lawsuit will be amended to remove the Spokane bishop. There is a stay against suing the Diocese of Spokane since it filed for bankruptcy last month.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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