November 19, 2005

Alaska Women Also Allege Abuse

Los Angeles Times

By William Lobdell, Times Staff Writer

STEBBINS, Alaska Joseph Lundowski is not the only Catholic missionary accused of molesting Eskimo children on St. Michael Island during the 1960s and '70s.

Four Alaska native women alleged in a lawsuit filed earlier this year that Anton Smario sexually abused them as young girls in Stebbins and St. Michael parishes.

Now 84, Smario denies any sexual misconduct, although he said he had been naked in front of the girls who came to his catechism classes.

Smario and Lundowski, who is accused of molesting 40 Eskimo boys, lived in the villages for seven years, beginning in 1968. Though not ordained clerics, they stayed in the rectories and performed nearly the same duties as priests, according to villagers.

Smario said that at the time he served in Alaska, he was a lay member of the Franciscan order. Working in Anchorage, he said he met Father George Endal, who offered him volunteer work at the two St. Michael Island parishes.

Posted by kshaw at November 19, 2005 07:41 AM