February 22, 2006

Church abuse suit dismissed

Fairbanks News-Miner


A Nome Superior Court judge dismissed a civil suit against the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese and the Society of Jesus on Tuesday in a decision that could affect more than 100 sexual abuse of a minor claims in Alaska.

Judge Ben Esch dismissed Jane Doe 2's suit against the Rev. James Poole in December, saying the statute of limitations had passed. After hearing arguments last week, Esch came to the same decision for the diocese and the Jesuits in a ruling issued Tuesday. Trial was due to start Feb. 27.

Doe claimed that Poole, a Jesuit priest and founder of Nome radio station KNOM who now lives in Spokane, Wash., repeatedly abused her, impregnated her at the age of 14, then suggested she get an abortion. She claimed the diocese and the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, allowed Poole to abuse her.

Esch ruled that Doe should have lodged her claims against the diocese and Jesuits within the time frame of the statute of limitations.

"This will be seen as unjust by many people, but is, I believe, required by the laws of the State of Alaska and the decisions of the Alaska Supreme Court," Esch wrote.

Posted by kshaw at February 22, 2006 08:52 AM