Seattle Suit Claims Churrch Abuse

Associated Press, carried in NorthJersey
July 29, 2007

Seattle U., Jesuits sued over abuse claims

Seattle — Eight men, including five brothers from two families, have sued Seattle University and the Jesuit order, alleging sexual abuse by a Catholic priest who was named in a lawsuit that was settled last fall.

The latest case centering on the Rev. Michael Toulouse, a Jesuit priest who taught philosophy at the university from about 1950 until his death in 1976, was filed in King County Superior Court.

Plaintiffs allege that some senior priests in the order, including some who had worked at the school, knew Toulouse had molested minors. The plaintiffs contend the priests sometimes informed their superiors but did not act effectively to stop him.

A sexual abuse lawsuit filed by a man in 2005 against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, which oversees Jesuit operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, was settled in November for $350,000. The man had alleged that Toulouse had molested him in the Jesuit residence at the school when he was 12.

As of October, the province had spent about $8.5 million to settle some 40 claims involving various priests, and as of November, 30 to 50 claims were pending.

The head of the Oregon Province, the Very Rev. John D. Whitney, issued a statement saying that if the accusations "are deemed to be credible, we will strive to respond as we have: with a firm commitment to healing and reconciliation. We do not seek to hide or deny what has happened, but to discover and set right what we can."


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