Lawsuit against St. Ignatius Ursuline Academy to proceed, lawyers say


By Kathryn Haake

Lawyers representing victims of sexual assault that allegedly occurred for more than 40 years at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius are pledging to take the case to trial this summer – even after the Catholic Diocese of Helena filed for bankruptcy Friday to settle a similar lawsuit.

The case against the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province alleges that 10 nuns sexually abused Native American children at the Catholic boarding school from the 1930s to the 1970s, and lists 37 men and women as the victims of sexual molestation.

The lead counsel in the case, Blaine Tamaki of the Tamaki Law Offices of Yakima, Wash., is hoping to go to trial this summer and expose the alleged abuse to the public.

The 2011 lawsuit was filed in conjunction with another lawsuit against the Diocese of Helena, listing 362 victims as plaintiffs. The diocese filed for bankruptcy and pledged a settlement of $15 million Friday, to be funded by insurance and the diocese’s assets.

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