February 16, 2006

Fairbanks diocese blasted for withholding documents

Anchorage Daily News

The Associated Press

Published: February 16, 2006
Last Modified: February 16, 2006 at 01:42 AM

A national organization for survivors of priest sexual abuse blasted Fairbanks Catholic leaders on Wednesday, saying officials are trying to keep records of an accused priest secret as the case heads for trial at the end of the month.

The Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests sent a harshly worded letter to Bishop Donald Kettler to "stop stonewalling" and allow the release of all documents pertaining to the Rev. James E. Poole. The 82-year-old retired Jesuit priest has been accused of abusing five women during a four-decade career in rural Alaska.

Poole, who founded KNOM radio in Nome, was recently severed from the civil lawsuit -- filed by a woman alleging she was abused in the mid-1970s -- because the statute of limitations has expired. But the Fairbanks diocese and Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, remain listed as defendants in the trial scheduled for Feb. 27 in Nome.

"Keeping these documents hidden is telling survivors, parishioners and the public that you care more about your precious secrets than you care about your precious children," SNAP officials wrote in the letter e-mailed and faxed to Kettler Wednesday.

Posted by kshaw at February 16, 2006 07:21 AM