6 new lawsuits against Seattle Archdiocese detail decades of alleged abuse

By David Wagner
May 17, 2016

[with video]

Six new lawsuits against the Seattle Archdiocese detail three decades of alleged abuse by six priests and a youth minister. The lawsuits are being filed this morning in King County Superior Court.

Among those accused:

  • Father James Gandrau, St. Mark Parish in Shoreline
  • Father Dennis Muehe, St. Anne Parish in Seattle
  • Father Theodore Marmo, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Edward Hall 
  • Father Harold Quigg, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Edward Hall
  • Father Jerome Dooley, Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School in Tacoma
  • Father David Jaeger, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and School in Everett

All six priests were on the list of 77 church pedophiles released by the Seattle Archdiocese in January.

“After the Archdiocese released the list of names our office received dozens of calls from abuse survivors, including many people who thought they were the only one. These cases represent the first group of abuse victims who decided they wanted to take action, but I would be surprised if more claims are not filed,” said attorney Michael Pfau.

There is also a church worker, named in one of the lawsuits, not included on the list of pedophiles released by the Seattle Archdiocese. Jim Funnell was a youth minister at St. John Vianney in Kirkland.

According to the lawsuit, "Funnell groomed and sexually abused" a boy. It goes on to say that the parents of "another boy who was molested by Funnell” talked with parish priest, Ted Marmo, but Marmo never confronted Funnell and didn't restrict his access to children. Father Marmo is among those previously named by the archdiocese as a pedophile priest.

"Father Marmo is alleged to have abused one of our clients in the 1970s, but then a short time later he is ignoring parents who are concerned his youth minister is molesting their son."

Marmo is now living in Palm Springs and is the only archdiocese employee named in today’s lawsuits who is still alive.

The cover-up by the Seattle Archdiocese is detailed in a lawsuit which names Father James Gandrau of St. Mark Parish in Shoreline. According to attorney Michael Pfau, Gandrau was caught abusing a boy in 1967 by the pastor of St. Mark Parish, Father Theodore Sullivan. The lawsuit maintains Father Sullivan never reported Gandrau to the authorities “as a child molester and rapist.”

The Seattle Archdiocese maintains it is trying to atone for the sins of the past. Attorney Jason Amala said the new claims illustrate the widespread problem of abuse within the Archdiocese.

“Father Muehe was the Director of Catholic Charities for decades and was known to often have a foster child with him. Father Marmo is alleged to have abused one of our clients in the 1970s, but then a short time later he is ignoring parents who are concerned his youth minister is molesting their son. And Father Quigg was apparently known as an abuser for roughly a decade, but he was allowed to remain a priest because his victim was 17 years old. That’s only three of the stories in these six cases, and only three stories out of the dozens of abuse survivors who have contacted us," said Amala.

The Archdiocese is being pressured, by victims and church members, to open all the files of abuse by employees.

“Our clients and others have come forward because they want to know how this happened. That is a difficult question to answer when you have such widespread abuse but an Archdiocese that refuses to make its records public,” said Pfau.

Here’s the response from the Archdiocese of Seattle to Tuesday's lawsuits. 

“None of the men accused have served in the diocese for years. The lawsuits are certainly not a surprise to us.  The reason we disclosed the list was to encourage people to come forward. “

Greg Magnoni


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