November 16, 2005

Defrocked priest vows fight to clear name in abuse case

Seattle Post-Intelligencer


On a sunny Saturday in 1969, G. Barry Ashwell and David Jaeger, schoolmates for 11 years, were ordained into the priesthood together. More than three decades later -- also on the same day -- the Seattle Archdiocese announced that the Vatican had defrocked both priests after numerous allegations that they sexually abused children.

But here, their paths diverge. Jaeger -- most recently known for his sensitive ministry to AIDS patients -- has confessed and requested to be "released from the clerical state," while Ashwell remains unrepentant. Defiant, he is now preparing to defend himself in court.

"These people claim to be victims, and they very well might be -- but not by me," he said Tuesday in a rambling, hourlong interview that revealed a man stunned by his ostracism after a long and storied career.

"Did I do anybody any good, ever? Where are they all? No one speaks to me at all now. Everybody runs for cover. I'm a hermit."

Posted by kshaw at November 16, 2005 07:39 AM