November 14, 2005

Sex-abuse suits embroil Jesuits in Northwest

The Oregonian

Monday, November 14, 2005
In the long shadow of the Archdiocese of Portland bankruptcy, an Oregon-based Jesuit province faces a growing priest-abuse litigation crisis of its own.

In the last few years, as many as 100 people have filed sex-abuse lawsuits accusing more than a dozen priests and volunteers of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, according to plaintiffs' attorneys.

The Northwest Jesuits are separate from the Portland Archdiocese and report to superiors outside the Vatican in Rome. The province covers five states -- Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska -- but the bulk of the alleged abuse occurred in remote Alaskan Eskimo villages that during the long winters are almost completely cut off from the rest of the world.

"There's no one to tell, no one to turn to, no one to talk to," said Elsie Boudreau, an Anchorage woman who was sexually abused by a Jesuit priest when she was a girl. Boudreau settled her case for $1 million in April.

The Rev. John D. Whitney, the Portland-based provincial superior, admitted that the Rev. James Poole had committed sexual abuse and apologized to Boudreau.

Posted by kshaw at November 14, 2005 07:33 AM