Suit Filed against Former Portland Priest

The Associated Press, carried in Seattle Times [Portland OR]
September 23, 2004

PORTLAND A former Portland priest has been sued by 10 men who say he molested them when they were children.

The men, who have already settled lawsuits with the Portland Archdiocese, filed the new lawsuit yesterday.

One plaintiff, Jimmy Clarizio, said he wants to take Thomas Laughlin's money to prevent him from using it to lure more victims.

"Our goal is to stop Laughlin's pedophile activities," he said.

Clarizio said the suit might also bring forward other victims.

"I know are out there. He has not stopped," said Clarizio, a former altar boy at All Saints School in Portland. "Then Laughlin could be arrested and put in jail, which is where he belongs."

Laughlin, 79, was a priest in Oregon from 1948 to 1983, when he pleaded guilty to molesting two All Saints altar boys. He spent about six months in jail before moving to New Mexico.

After a stint in a Catholic rehabilitation center, Laughlin moved to an apartment in Albuquerque. He was defrocked in the mid-1980s. Laughlin lived in Albuquerque until late last year, when he moved back to Omaha, Neb., his hometown. His phone number is not listed under his name and he could not be reached for comment.

More than 200 people in Western Oregon have accused Roman Catholic clergy and lay officials of molesting them during the past 50 years. The Portland Archdiocese and its insurers paid more than $53 million in settlements before seeking bankruptcy protection in July.

The lawsuit filed yesterday does not name the Portland Archdiocese.

Michael Morey, the Lake Oswego attorney who filed the suit, said he also represents an Albuquerque man and former street kid who says Laughlin molested him for five years during the 1990s. Morey said Laughlin spent lavishly, taking cruises and taking his client to Europe for two months in the early 1990s.

"If this man has the money to take cruises, my clients are entitled to take it from him," he said.


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