5 Catholic Priests Named As Sex Abusers Have Whatcom County Ties

By Caleb Hutton
Bellingham Herald
January 15, 2016

The Archdiocese of Seattle released the names of 77 sex abusers who served as priests and religious leaders of the Catholic Church in Western Washington over the past century.

The church disclosed the names as part of the Archdiocese’s “longstanding efforts at transparency, accountability and urging victims to come forward,” according to a media release Friday, Jan. 15.

All of the listed priests and religious brothers and sisters have been linked to credible reports of child sex abuse between 1923 and 2008, according to the church. Five of the priests have ties to Whatcom County:

? Michael Cody, now deceased, worked at Sacred Heart Church in La Conner from 1970 to 1972, St. Charles Catholic Church in Burlington from 1972 to 1975, and the Church of the Assumption in Bellingham from 1972 to 1975. His sexual abuse of a Sedro-Woolley teenager was the subject of a lawsuit filed in Whatcom County Superior Court that was settled for $1.2 million in May 2015. Former Seattle Archbishop Thomas Connelly had been advised in 1962 that Father Cody was a diagnosed pedophile and had molested at least eight girls, according to internal records uncovered by the plaintiff’s attorneys. After a brief hiatus, Cody returned to work in leadership roles within the church. He abused the Sedro-Woolley girl in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

? Jerome Dooley, now deceased, was assigned to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Sedro-Woolley from 1970 to 1976 and Sacred Heart Church in Bellingham from 1976 to 1981.

? Dermot Foyle, whose status is listed as unknown, worked at the Church of the Assumption in Bellingham from 1952 to 1953.

? David Linehan, who is in the church’s prayer and penance program, was a Boy Scouts chaplain from 1982 to 1992, while he was a priest in Skagit and Whatcom counties. He was assigned to St. Charles Church in Burlington from 1977 to 1984 and to the Sacred Heart Church in Bellingham from 1984 to 1988.

? William O’Brien, now deceased, served at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ferndale from 1936 to 1949.

All of the above priests served at several other churches in Western Washington. The full list can be found at

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain apologized for the actions by clergy and others affiliated with the church who abused minors.

“Our work in this area will not be complete until all those who have been harmed have received assistance in healing, and until the evil of child sexual abuse has been eradicated from society,” he wrote in an open letter.

Other survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic leadership can call an archdiocesan hotline at 1-800-446-7762.









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