|Past Student Settles
Suit against Jesuits, High School for $95,000
Sex abuse claim - The priest, the school and the religious order admit no wrongdoing in the case
By Ashbel S. Green
November 30, 2005
A former Jesuit High School student who claimed that a teacher molested him in the 1980s has settled his lawsuit for $95,000.
The anonymous plaintiff, who sued under the initials "J.T.," settled with the school as well as the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, the Northwest branch of the Catholic religious order commonly known as the Jesuits.
The Rev. John Schwartz, whom J.T. accused of sexual abuse, was a Jesuit priest who taught at the school.
Schwartz, who left the school in 1987, denies wrongdoing.
Schwartz is no longer a member of the Jesuits and was working as a parish priest in Marin County in the Archdiocese of San Francisco when J.T. filed his suit in Multnomah County in October.
Schwartz took a voluntary leave of absence. The archdiocese will conduct its own investigation to determine whether Schwartz can return to work as a priest, said Maurice Healy, director of communications for the archdiocese.
"The safety of children is the first priority," Healy said.
Under the settlement, neither Jesuit High School nor the Society of Jesus admitted wrongdoing.
Jesuit, through its insurance company, agreed to pay $25,000 of the $95,000 to settle all claims against it, according to John T. Kaempf, an attorney for the school.
Kaempf, a shareholder in the Bullivant Houser Bailey law firm in Portland, noted that Jesuit's share of the settlement was far less than the $4 million sought in the suit. He also said that Schwartz vehemently denied the allegations and has never been accused of any other sexual abuse.
"While Jesuit did nothing wrong, and did not even receive notice of these 20-year-old allegations until the lawsuit was filed last month, it agreed to settle this case in order to end its legal expenses and return its focus to educating its students," Kaempf said.
Michael S. Morey, attorney for the plaintiff, said the amount was inadequate to compensate his client for the severe damages he suffered. Morey said he agreed in part because lawyers for the school were trying to get the case dismissed on the grounds that it was filed beyond the statute of limitations.
Morey said the willingness of the defendants to pay his client $95,000 was a strong recognition of the medical documentation of the sexual abuse that was reported twice in 1997.
"My client views this settlement as a significant victory and concrete validation by both defendants that the truth has been told, and justice has prevailed," Morey said.
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