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  3 Join Suit, Claim Abuse
Priest Accused: Now-Deceased Jesuit Molested Them, Men Say

By Nicole Tsong
Anchorage Daily News
January 14, 2005

Three more men said Thursday that a now-deceased Catholic priest abused them when they were children, molesting them during "wrestling" matches and buying their silence with pop and candy.

The men joined a lawsuit filed in Bethel in December by another victim, identified in court documents as Jack Doe 1, who accused the same Jesuit priest, the Rev. Francis X. Nawn, of sexually abusing him when he was a teenager. Jack Doe 1 also accused the Rev. Segundo Llorente, a former state legislator, of molesting him as a boy.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are the Diocese of Fairbanks, the Society of Jesus Oregon Province and the Alaska Jesuits. The plaintiffs, identified as Jack Doe 1-4, claim that church officials moved priests from parish to parish to conceal the extent of the abuse and to avoid scandal and investigation by civil authorities.

Fairbanks Bishop Donald Kettler denied those accusations Thursday. He said, "I absolutely believe that no priest was moved from one place to another because the diocese became aware of sexual abuse."

The three new plaintiffs are the latest from rural Alaska represented by attorney Ken Roosa, who has sued the Diocese of Fairbanks and the Oregon Jesuits based on allegations from 56 people against four priests and one monk.

Kettler said the diocese has to accept the latest claims and work from there.

"We'll continue to just work with the situation and just do the best for truth and justice for everyone involved," he said.

The Rev. Patrick Ford, a spokesman for the Oregon Jesuits, said officials were "shocked and saddened" by the situation. Both Nawn and Llorente have died and the Jesuits had no indication before the lawsuit that any abuse was taking place, Ford said.

"Our concern is certainly for those who have been victimized," he said.

According to the lawsuit, Nawn served as the resident priest of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Holy Cross from 1963 to 1964. He filled in for Llorente at Sheldon Point, where the alleged abuse took place, around that time when Llorente was transferred to another parish. Nawn also served in Alakanuk from 1969 to 1980, but still was responsible for St. Peter's Catholic Church at Sheldon Point. The village, 18 miles southwest of Emmonak, is now known as Nunam Iqua.

The three latest plaintiffs allege that they were abused as boys during the period 1970 to 1974. The abuse started for Jack Doe 2 when he was 9, for Jack Doe 3 when he was 8 and for Jack Doe 4 when he was 6, they say.

According to the complaint, all three boys attended services at St. Peter's. Nawn started abusing them by engaging them in wrestling matches, the suit says. The priest would show the boys a "wrestling hold" that required Nawn to grab the boys' genitals, then have them perform the same hold on him, the suit says.

Nawn also performed oral sex upon Jack Doe 2 and fondled all three boys, the complaint says. They say he directed boys to lie on top of girls in his living area and simulate sex while the priest watched, the complaint alleges.

Afterwards, the priest told the boys separately that "it would be a sin ... to tell anyone what they had done together and gave (them) pop and candy," the complaint says.

The men all say they suffered emotionally and lost their faith in God and the Catholic church.

 
 

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