March 08, 2006

Woman accuses top U.S. bishop of sexual abuse

SPOKANE (WA)
USA Today

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) A woman has filed a claim that she was sexually abused more than 40 years ago by Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops and leader of the Spokane Diocese.

Skylstad issued a statement Wednesday categorically denying the accusation, saying he has not violated the vow of celibacy he took 47 years ago.

The claim was filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane on Dec. 27 by a woman who said she was under the age of 18 when Skylstad sexually abused her at St. Patrick's Parish and at Gonzaga University from December 1961 to December 1964.

Skylstad was a student at Gonzaga University from 1962-1966 and taught mathematics to students at Mater Cleri Seminary at Colbert, north of Spokane.

The diocese is one of three in the nation that filed for bankruptcy protection to deal with claims of sexual abuse by clergy. Skylstad last month offered to settle with 75 victims for $45.7 million.

Posted by kshaw at March 8, 2006 06:31 PM