Locations of alleged abuse

Seattle Post-Intelligencer
August 19, 2004

[See also the main article in this series on accusations against "Fathers who acted as fathers", as well as profiles of the 11 priests examined and in-depth reports on two priests: Rev. Edward T. Olszewski and Rev. James Mitchell. Note: The display on this page of maps and photographs was keyboarded and assembled by from the original PDF.]

In a recent survey of people who have made sexual abuse claims against Catholic clergy, 120 of 7,514 accusers said they were living at the rectory or another church-owned property when they were abused. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has found four priests in Washington, later removed from ministry for alleged sexual abuse, who had boys living with them. The priests worked in Seattle, Walla Walla, Vancouver and Whidbey Island.
St. Augustine's Church
185 N. Oak Harbor St., Oak Harbor, WA
* Priest: G. Barry Ashwell
* Years at parish: 1979-2000
* Synopsis: Rev. G. Barry Ashwell was a state-licensed foster father to at least five children on Whidbey Island, including one who accused him of sexual abuse and settled with the Seattle Archdiocese in 1996. Recently, another man has stepped forward with similar charges stemming from his own week-long stay with the priest. Ashwell has denied all the allegations.


St. Mary's Church
611 20th Ave. S., Seattle, WA

* Priest: John Cornelius
* Years at parish: 1978
* Synopsis: Cornelius adopted as many as 13 children, three of whom lived with him when he was a pastor at St. Mary's. None has alleged impropriety. But in the last two years more than 20 other men have filed abuse complaints against Cornelius, resulting in his removal from the priesthood. Cornelius resigned in 2002, saying, "To all those I have hurt, I express to you my sorrow, and I ask for your forgiveness." Contacted recently, Cornelius said he has no further comment.

St. John's Church
8701 N.E. 119th St. Vancouver, WA
* Priest: James Mitchell
* Years at parish: 1984-86
* Synopsis: James Mitchell brought two teens to Washington from Colombia with promises of adoption. According to a complaint filed in May, he proce[e]ded to subject them to frequent sexual abuse. Mitchell has been removed from active ministry by the Seattle Archdiocese. He could not be reached for comment.


St. Patrick's Church
425 W. Alder, Walla Walla, WA

* Priest: Arthur C. Mertens
* Years at parish: 1981-89
* Synopsis: According to a recent lawsuit filed by a man who wishes to be identified only as P.J., Spokane priest Arthur Mertens molested him for years, starting when P.J. was 12. For six months in 1984 and 1985, P.J. lived with the priest in Walla Walla, spending his school days at Washington Elementary and his nights in the rectory. Mertens has not responded to requests for comment.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer



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