February 02, 2005

Revelations: Faith betrayed (Part 1)


Monday, January 31, 2005 - by Megan Baldino

St. Michael, Alaska - When Alaska's bishops met in Anchorage in February last year, they came together to divulge the scope of clergy sex abuse in Alaska. One bishop said he never imagined that the problem in his diocese was only just beginning.

In what is now the largest clergy sex abuse lawsuit, 34 men claim a deacon raped them hundreds of times as children. They're now suing the Diocese of Fairbanks.

Just off the coast of Norton Sound, an old Catholic Church stands tall, among plywood and log homes that make up the village of St. Michael, home to 400 people. Early missionaries talked about how easy it was to convert the people here to Christianity. They were already deeply spiritual. It wasn't long before the church became the center of their world.

Peter Kobuk, 45, is a devout Catholic. He's lived in St. Michael his entire life. When he was young, he spent half his day at public school and then crossed the road and spent the rest of his day at St. Michaels Church.

These days, Kobuk rarely comes this close to the old church. He was hoping it would be torn down years ago. Instead, the church looms over the village as a constant reminder of the horrible things that many say happened here years ago.

Posted by kshaw at February 2, 2005 06:45 AM