Lawsuit: Seattle U. President Knew of Abuse

By Heather Bosch
January 14, 2009

[with audio]

A major claim has been made against the Jesuit Order of the Catholic Church alleging that Alaska was used as a "dumping ground" for priests known to have been accused of molesting children.

A group of people who say they were sexually abused by Catholic priests in Alaska villages called a news conference Wednesday outside of Seattle University.

Attorney Ken Roosa announced 43 lawsuits against the Jesuit Order and accused Seattle University President Stephen Sundborg of concealing abusers.

While he is not accused of any direct abuse, Roosa said Father Sundborg at one time headed up the Jesuit order in the Pacific Northwest and was "In charge during the time the abuse occurred."

The group claims there was a Jesuit conspiracy to dump predator priests in Alaska Villages where Native children were less likely to report to police. "Alaska became the ideal place for perpetrators because of the isolation, and the native people were looked upon as being, quote: ignorant." Said Elsie Boudreau, one of the alleged victims.

The 43 lawsuits were filed in Bethel, Alaska, alleging abused between the 1940's until 1991.

A spokesman for the university told The Seattle Times that Sundborg has not been served with a lawsuit, and that Sundborg believes all victims of clerical abuse should be treated with compassion and justice.


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