Clerical Abuse Lawsuit Expands

By Mary Beth Smetzer
Fairbanks News-Miner [Alaska]
May 12, 2005

A civil lawsuit filed Wednesday in Bethel Superior Court adds 12 new complainants alleging they were sexually abused as children by Roman Catholic clerics or volunteers.

Seven complainants, James Does 33 through 39, pushes the plaintiff count up to 39 against Joseph Lundowski, a former Trappist monk, now deceased.

Four women, Julia Does 1 through 4, are bringing suit against Anton Smario, a Franciscan friar, alleging that he molested them as children in the villages of St. Michael and Stebbins.

A fifth woman, Jean Doe 1, alleges the Rev. George Endal, a Jesuit priest now deceased, who supervised both Lundowski and Smario in western Alaska communities, sexually abused her over a three-year period.

Defendants named in the lawsuit are the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese, The Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, and Alaska, the Catholic Archbishop of Anchorage, Anton Smario, and the Franciscan Friars of California.

The latter three defendants in Wednesday's filing are new additions. The amended lawsuit includes Smario, who now lives in California, and was a professed Franciscan friar of the third order of the Santa Barbara Province at the time of the alleged abuse.

"As soon as we receive the complaint, we will definitely review it," said Ronnie Rosenberg, human resources director for the Fairbanks Diocese on Wednesday afternoon. "It is sad to hear this news."

Rosenberg added, "If anyone has been injured in the past or present we ask them to come forward and contact our victim assistance coordinator, Madeline Nance."

Wednesday's dozen new filings by the law firm Cooke Roosa & Valcarce brings the number of lawsuits against the Fairbanks Diocese to more than 60, implicating five Jesuit priests, Jules Convert, James Poole, Francis Nawn, Segundo Llorente and George Endal, as well as Lundowski and Smario, both affiliated with Catholic religious orders.

"I am at a loss for words about this whole thing. I never expected to find this, not here, not anywhere," said Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa. "The saddest thing about it all is that it demonstrates without a doubt that these kids had no place to turn, no one to turn to, no place to seek sanctuary."

Julia Does 1-4 allege they were molested by Smario, a Franciscan deacon and catechist, when they were between the ages of 5 and 11, and living in the communities of St. Michael or Stebbins. A

fter the molestations took place, Smario gave them candy, cake and juice.

Court papers state that several of the girls reported the molestations to Endal, who told them to stay away from Smario and tell him if it happened again. Julia Doe 2 did tell Endal when it happened again, and he took no action, according to records.

The complaint against Endal by Jean Doe 1 states that the priest, now deceased, allegedly molested her in the church rectory in Hooper Bay on many occasions between 1966-1968 when she was 9 through 12 years old. She was told by Endal that if she told anyone she would die and go directly to hell.

Lundowski's association with the Fairbanks diocese began during the 1950s at the now-defunct Holy Rosary Mission School in Dillingham where he was in charge of the boys' dormitory under the direction of Endal, who at the time was in charge of the mission school.

Over the ensuing years, Lundowski also worked for periods of time in Nulato, Stebbins, St. Michael and Hooper Bay, conducting services, teaching catechism and distributing Communion.

The seven new Lundowski complainants state in court papers that they were sexual abused by Lundowski in the church rectories in St. Michael, Hooper Bay, Stebbins and Lundowski's residence in Clark's Point between 1960-1975. Some report the abuse started at age 7 and others older, continuing in one instance to age 19. The allegations list multiple instances of abuse from oral sex to forcible sodomy.