|10th Man Claims Abuse by Late Priest
Seattle U, Jesuit Order Faces Lawsuit over Rev. Toulouse
By John Iwasaki
October 22, 2008
A Seattle man has sued Seattle University and the provincial Jesuit order, the 10th man to claim the late Rev. Michael Toulouse abused him.
The man, now in his early 50s, said the priest abused him in 1968 or 1969 when he was in the eighth grade.
He said that Seattle University, where Toulouse worked, and the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, which oversees Jesuits in Washington and four other states, knew of the abuse but failed to protect the plaintiff and other children.
Mary Petersen, Seattle University's vice president and counsel, said the college had not been served with the lawsuit.
"We have zero tolerance for sexual abuse of minors. Seattle University remains steadfast in the belief that all victims of clerical sexual abuse be treated with compassion and justice," she said in a statement.
The recent lawsuit was similar to the previous abuse allegations "in this respect: Toulouse's modus operandi was to ingratiate himself to (Catholic) families in the Seattle area" and then groom their sons for sex, said Michael Pfau, a Seattle attorney who represents the 10 plaintiffs.
Eight men sued Seattle University and the Oregon Province in July 2007. That case is scheduled for trial in March. A previous case was settled for $350,000 in 2006.
By the late 1960s, "it's certainly our contention that the Jesuits had ample notice that Toulouse was a problem," Pfau said.
The plaintiff once came home to find Toulouse socializing with his parents, persuading them to let the priest drive the boy on an errand, during which he was sexually abused, said the suit, filed Friday in King County Superior Court.
Jesuit provincial officials moved Toulouse to Seattle University in 1951 after he admitted having sex with an altar boy in Spokane, where he worked at Gonzaga High School from 1946 to 1950, according to the suit.
The priest remained at Seattle University until his death in 1976.
P-I reporter John Iwasaki can be reached at 206-448-8096 or email@example.com.
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