July 31, 2005

Disturbing connections emerge


Bill Morlin
Staff writer
July 31, 2005

Three decades ago, while Spokane reveled in its changing skyline and the limelight of hosting a World's Fair, the city frequently was described as a great place to raise a family.

But beneath the surface lurked a dark secret actually several of them.

Young boys some from troubled backgrounds and others from prominent families were being sexually abused by a group of men who were supposed to be role models and authority figures. Growing evidence suggests that people who knew about the abuse did nothing to stop it or report it.

Two attorneys who represent several alleged victims from the era believe there was a pedophile ring operating in Spokane.

Others blame a culture of secrecy, denial and ignorance for allowing revered, male-dominated institutions like the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office to ignore abusers in their midst.

"The people and institutions who helped keep these secrets are almost as guilty as the perpetrators," said Seattle attorney Tim Kosnoff, who represents two of at least four men who allege they were passed around among abusers.

"There was definitely a sex ring operating in Spokane, preying on young boys," Kosnoff said, using the FBI's definition of two or more individuals sharing information and victims to make his point.

Posted by kshaw at July 31, 2005 04:05 PM