Seattle Archdiocese Sued over Priest Sex Abuse, Again

By Vanessa Ho
Seattle Pi
June 14, 2011

Three men have sued the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese, alleging they were sexually abused by priests decades ago, and that the church failed to protect them.

The Monday lawsuit is the latest complaint against the local archdiocese, which went to court two years ago in a rare sex-abuse trial that forced the testimonies of two former church leaders. Like most of the abuse lawsuits, that case settled.

In the latest case, filed by the same law firm that took the archdiocese to trial, the men have filed anonymously. They said they were repeatedly sexually abused by priests in the '60s and '70s, while belonging to the St. Anne parish in Queen Anne.

The complaint names three priests: John Marsh, Gerald Moffat and Dennis Muehe.

Marsh retired in 1988, after gaining fame in the '80s for two books he wrote on alcoholism that were based on his own experiences. In 2003, the archiodcese settled a complaint involving him, in which three brothers said they were molested by him in the late '60s and early '70s in Renton.

Moffat was defrocked in 2006. In 2005, the archdiocese settled a lawsuit alleging Moffat had repeatedly abused an altar boy in the early 70s. The settlement came after the victim committed suicide as an adult, in a parish parking lot in Kirkland.

Muehe died in 1994, after running the archdiocese's charities program, according to a Seattle Times obit.

The King County complaint says the church knew, or should have known, of the alleged abuse and had failed to remove the priests from children.

"As a result, these priests successfully groomed and sexually abused Plaintiff's and other children," the complaint says.


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