Spokane Diocese to Pay $30,000 to End Abuse Suit Man Says He Was Molested by Former De Sales Principal

Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)
April 20, 2004

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane will pay $30,000 to settle a claim by a man molested decades ago in Walla Walla.

The man, who requested anonymity in public discussions of his case, said he suffered the abuse as a youth at the hands of August Ludwig, a former Marianist brother, the diocese said.

In all, five men have said Ludwig sexually abused them in the 1970s, while he was principal of De Sales High School. Some said Ludwig fondled them during school trips to Spokane and other cities. Some said he first gave them alcohol.

''Every night he said the only room available had just one bed," one man told The Spokesman-Review in 2001. ''That's how naive I was. We all were."

Ludwig left Walla Walla to teach at a Los Angeles high school in 1977, amid rumors of molestation. After his departure, one Walla Walla family reported to church officials in California that their son had been molested.

''Nothing was proven at the time," a church official told The Spokesman-Review in 2001.

Ludwig took a leave after just one school quarter in L.A., then taught college in Hawaii. Later he lived in New Mexico and Kentucky, and was headmaster of an all-boys Catholic high school in Virginia, at one point ushering a group of students on a trip to Europe.

Church officials have said in the past that there were no complaints outside of those in Walla Walla.

The diocese said it believes Ludwig was removed from ministry years ago and confined to quarters in a monastery in the eastern United States.

Spokane Bishop William Skylstad launched a church investigation in the late 1990s, after being contacted by a victim.

Ludwig's name was disclosed publicly and to law enforcement authorities as a sex offender, the diocese said.

Some victims, though, said the bishop did too little.

Skylstad apologized to the victim for ''the suffering caused by an individual who betrayed the values one is to reflect as a religious brother who represents the teachings of Christ Jesus."


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