Lapwai Woman Refiles Abuse Claim against Church

Associated Press, carried in Idaho Statesman
January 21, 2009

LEWISTON, Idaho A Lapwai woman has refiled a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise and the Jesuit order, alleging she was abused by her priest, but this time two more women have joined the case.

Mia Sonneck first filed a lawsuit in federal court last fall against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, saying she was abused by the now-deceased Rev. A.J. Ferretti when she was about 8 years old.

Her attorneys asked the federal court to dismiss that lawsuit in December. On Tuesday, Sonneck and two other women filed the lawsuit in Idaho's 2nd District Court, the Lewiston Tribune reported.

Alberta Sena of Culdesac and Dorothea Skalicky of Lewiston joined Sonneck in the lawsuit, contending they also had been abused by Ferretti. The lawsuit says the Boise Diocese oversees the parish where the alleged abuse took place.

Neither the diocese nor the Oregon Province had seen the suit, representatives for both organizations said.

"We are in the process of trying to obtain more information about the report of a civil claim filed against the Diocese of Boise. Until we receive a copy of what was reportedly filed, we have no way of knowing who the claim is against or by whom it was brought," Diocese spokesman Mike Brown said in a prepared statement.

Brown said the diocese urges anyone with allegations of priest misconduct to call the diocesan Department of Child, Youth and Adult Protection.

"The Oregon Province takes all allegations of misconduct and child abuse seriously and investigate them thoroughly," the Rev. Patrick Lee, the organization's provincial, said in a written statement. "We pray for justice, healing and reconciliation for all involved in these allegations."

The Oregon province covers Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and Montana.

Idaho law allows lawsuits on child sexual abuse claims to be brought within five years of the child's discovery of the abuse. In the lawsuit, each of the women contend they discovered the acts and the resulting injuries after July 2007.

Sonneck, who says she was abused by Ferretti in 1973 and 1974, said at a news conference in October that she had repressed memories of the abuse until last year.

Skalicky, now 40, said she remembered she was abused after learning Sonneck had come forward about her experience. Skalicky said she was 6 or 7 years old when she was abused. Sena, now 43, said she "always knew something happened" with the priest but she felt compelled to come forward when her memories came back after hearing about Sonneck.

Sonneck, Sena and Skalicky are asking a judge to award them damages in an amount to be determined at trial.


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