Diocese to Face Queries in Case

By Laura Hancock
Deseret Morning News
August 26, 2004

Attorneys preparing for sex-abuse trials against the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle will travel to Utah next month to question officials with the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

A notice of deposition was filed Wednesday in Utah's 3rd District Court. The deposition is to take place Sept. 15 in Salt Lake City.

The attorneys, from the Seattle law firm of Rogers and Fleck, PLLC, want to depose any people "responsible for maintaining the records" on Edmund Boyle, a priest who died in 1995 at age 78.

Such records are "any and all documents," the notice states, including files, correspondence, newspaper articles, and anything referencing the Seattle archdiocese.

Boyle served as a priest in the West. It was unknown whether he lived in Utah. A spokeswoman for the Salt Lake diocese did not return a message to the Deseret Morning News on Wednesday night.

A spokesman for the Seattle archdiocese also did not return a message.

Attorney James S. Rogers said he could only speak in generalities on the cases because his partner, who was out of the office Wednesday, is handling them.

"We have a number of cases" against the archdiocese and involving Boyle, Rogers said. "They'll come to trial in '05."

The alleged victims are only identified in the deposition notice by their initials: "S.H.," "R.A.P.," "T.A.B." and "V.D.M."

According to Seattle newspapers, "S.H." was 50 years old and living in Portland, Ore., when he sued the Seattle archdiocese in April 2003. Boyle allegedly molested "S.H." when he was a child in the late 1950s and 1960s.

The man was a student at a boys school in Kent, Wash., 8 or 9 years old, when the alleged abuse started. The man says he was molested for about 2 1/2 years.

The boy left the school, but the priest allegedly resumed molesting him in the mid-1960s at schools in California and Las Vegas, where Boyle subsequently was transferred.

Three siblings a man and two women now in their late 50s sued the archdiocese in February, saying they were molested in their family home, on camping trips and at the rectory.

Another man filed suit against the Seattle Archdiocese in May.

The statute of limitations in Washington on such cases is three years to the date of when a person realizes he or she has problems that were caused by the abuse, Rogers said.

"It's a discovery of when that occurred. It's not when they knew of the abuse," Rogers said.

Boyle retired in 1984 and moved to Nevada. In 1987, he pleaded guilty to one count of lewdness with a child, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, after being charged in connection to exposing himself to a mentally retarded 12-year-old boy at a Nevada hospital where he served as a chaplain.

In addition to the archdiocese, the personal representative of the estate of Boyle is named as a defendant not necessarily because of any wealth he left. "I think that's a protocol," Rogers said.

The plaintiffs cannot ask for a specific amount of money in damages until the trials, Rogers said.