Category Archives: Child Abuse

Reform Legislation Aiding Sex-Abuse Victims Inches Forward in California

UPDATE: Reform legislation in California benefitting victims of childhood sexual abuse cleared a big hurdle earlier this week. And now there are two more steps to go before a significant bill becomes law.

Senate Bill 131 would give sexual-abuse survivors a one-year window of opportunity to file a civil suit previously time-barred by statute of limitations. Plaintiffs could file a case against their abuser or their abuser’s employer. The window to file such cases would be open from 2014-2015.

On Sept. 4, SB131 passed the California Assembly with 44 yeas, 15 nays and 19 abstaining from voting. The bill now heads back to the Senate for amendments to be voted upon. The bill needs 21 of 40 votes to be approved. The bill is expected to be voted upon by week’s end.

If the measure passes the Senate, it will advance to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, where the governor has 30 days to sign it into law. If signed by the governor, the bill would take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

SB 131 has been one of the tougher fought pieces of statute-reform legislation in the country. The bill faced intense opposition from critics, who have argued that the bill unfairly singles out the Catholic church,the Boy Scouts, and other private and nonprofit employers and exposes them to lawsuits over decades-old allegations tough to defend in court. We see it as necessary for abuse victims, giving them a much-needed shot at justice for cases typically not prosecuted under criminal statutes. SB 131 was defeated earlier this session but eventually passed the Senate last month in a comeback vote.

We’ll continue to keep a close eye on SB 131. We were curious to see if Gov. Brown had a statement or has indicated how he’ll vote on this. So far, we’ve not heard back from the governor’s press office, so we’ll continue to keep an eye on this. SB 131 is watershed legislation for sexual-abuse victims and could lead the way for other states to follow.

Contact:

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, child sex-abuse attorney: 425-830-8201
Dan Fasy, child sex-abuse attorney: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico is Set to File for Bankruptcy Protection as it Seeks to Address a Growing Number of Childhood Sexual-Abuse Cases

For sex abuse survivors from Northwestern New Mexico and Northern Arizona, now is the time to come forward.

We can help.

But time is of the essence. And it’s important to act promptly.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico has announced plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this month, faced with a growing number of child sexual-abuse claims against members of its clergy.

Those abused by Catholic clergy or employees of the Gallup Diocese may be able to file a claim in U.S. bankruptcy court.

However, these cases also come with a ticking time clock known as a “claims bar date.” After a deadline is set, abuse claims can be barred by statute of limitation.

The Diocese of Gallup has parishes in six counties in New Mexico, three counties in Arizona and at seven Native American reservations, including the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and parts of the Apache reservations. There have been a number of accused pedophile priests from this diocese, including Rev. Clement A. Hageman, Rev. Paul Sanchez and <a href=”http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Sullivan_John_T.htm”>Rev. John T. Sullivan</a>, according to Bishopaccountability.org, a watchdog group that tracks clergy sexual abuse.

On Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, Bishop James S. Wall read a letter to church-goers, telling them that in the face of insurmountable lawsuits the diocese saw few options but to seek protection from the courts, Catholic News Service reported.

“Given the financial circumstances of the diocese, I have come to the conclusion that the only fair, equitable and merciful way to balance these obligations is by filing a Chapter 11 reorganization,” Bishop said in a prepared statement.

The Gallup Diocese will be the ninth U.S. diocese or archdiocese to file for bankruptcy protection since 2004.

If you have been abused or have information about someone you know who has been abused, contact me at: [email protected] Or call our office at: 206-257-3590 or toll-free at: 855-LAW4CSA, 855-529-4272.

For further reading:

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news5/2013_09_03_Hardin_Burrola_Diocese_of_Gallup.htm

http://www.catholicsun.org/2013/09/03/diocese-of-gallup-n-m-poised-to-file-for-bankruptcy-protection/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/04/us-usa-church-abuse-idUSBRE98304G20130904

Contact:

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, child sex-abuse attorney: 425-830-8201
Dan Fasy, child sex-abuse attorney: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

California Set to Vote on ‘Window Legislation,’ Giving Abuse Survivors One Year to File Civil Lawsuits

By Martha Modeen

We’re keeping our eye on legislation in California.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse in California could have one more year to file civil lawsuits against alleged abusers under a bill that passed a key legislative committee this week. SB131 now heads to the full Assembly for a vote.

“Due to the nature of sex-abuse injuries, survivors often never come forward,” said Dan Fasy, partner at Kosnoff Fasy. “This legislation, if successful, will give victims in California one more shot at justice.”

Tim Kosnoff, partner at Kosnoff Fasy, agreed.

“This is an important development, and it’s gratifying to see,” Kosnoff said. “We’re seeing significant progress across the country benefiting abuse survivors.

The arc of history favors the just cause.”

This week’s successful vote comes one week after it failed in committee. SB 131 fell three votes short in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week after six Democrats did not vote. California State Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) asked for reconsideration and, the bill passed on Wednesday, Aug. 21 on an 11-3 vote, with three members not voting. SB 131 is now headed to the full Assembly for a floor vote.

For further reading:

http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/08/from-failed-to-pass-assembly-committee-revives-sex-abuse-bill.html

http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/jim-miller-headlines/20130821-legislature-sex-abuse-survivor-bill-advances-on-second-attempt.ece

A Look Back, a Look Ahead: What’s Changed for Sex-Abuse Cases in the Last 20 years

By TIM KOSNOFF
Two years ago, Simon and Schuster published “The Sins of Brother Curtis,” a book about a case of mine from the 1990s, which stretched for five years, start to finish. It was a transformative time for me. Not only was it my first civil case representing abuse victims, it also launched me in a completely different area of the law, from working as a criminal defense attorney to exclusively representing childhood sexual abuse survivors. That was nearly 20 years ago, and I haven’t looked back. I was among the first of a handful of attorneys in the country to identify themselves as a child sexual-abuse lawyer.

Since the book’s publication, Lisa Davis’s expose about child sexual-abuse in the Mormon Church has garnered well-earned recognition. The book has helped raise awareness about the ability and willingness of leaders of powerful institutions to tolerate and protect pedophiles within their ranks.

The book continues to be discovered, as it should be. This past spring, reviewer Julie Smith reposted a review:
“When Jeremiah [Scott] was young, he had been repeatedly molested by a Mormon Church elder. The church ‘bishop’ had been notified, but nothing was done. In uncovering the truth behind Jeremiah’s molestation by Brother Frank Curtis, [Tim] Kosnoff and his team also uncover a decades-long (1977-1991) string of molestations by Frank, in three different Mormon wards, as well as the now grown-up 20 other victims, one of them having spent time in a juvenile facility, himself accused of molestation. They also uncover what appears to be a pattern of cover-ups and misdirection on the part of the Mormon leadership that allowed this type of molestation to occur with other youth leaders.”
My law firm will take due credit for our involvement in this case. However, the lasting value of Davis’s work has been in helping shine a bright light on the grim realities of child sexual abuse.

Much has changed since the time of the Scott lawsuit. Our firm continues to represent victims who now number in the thousands. Our efforts have resulted in winning more than a quarter billion dollars for victims.

Moreover, due to several factors, victims are becoming ever more emboldened to come forward and seek legal help in bringing cases to court.

There are several key reasons for this increasing willingness. One is from the publicity itself. Few adults in the United States and beyond can possibly be unaware of what has transpired pertaining to child sexual abuse within major organizations such as the Mormon and Catholic churches, the Boy Scouts of America and sports programs such as Penn State. On our Facebook page, we update each week day some of the major developments related to child sexual abuse.

Beyond this, victims also have been able to appreciate the strength in numbers they can summon when they come forward. The more who are willing to go after those who have victimized them, the greater the chances are that others will follow.

One advantage victims have is the increasing awareness at seemingly every level of government that lawmakers must expand – or, indeed, abolish – statutes of limitation so that pedophiles can’t simply stall and avoid being made to face their accusers.

There has been, inevitably, strong opposition by members of the organizations cited above, even though resistance to statute-of-limitation reforms inevitably brings such institutions yet more bad publicity. Recall, for example, the recent change of papacy for the Catholic Church. Before, during and after the change of leadership, more often than not the news stories from around the world had to do less with general aspects of Pope Francis’s background, more about what he intends to do about sexual abusers of children.

As for the Boy Scouts, the organization has been plagued for much of the past year with the exposure of damning documents generally referenced as “The Perversion Files.” These records have been hidden away for the better part of a century. It was long past due these found their way to news web sites from coast to coast. I’m gratified to have helped play a part in bringing these important documents to the public by spending several years creating a database chronicling the Scouts knowledge of pedophilia among its volunteers.

Beyond American shores, authorities in many major countries are diligently making their own public attempts to deal with histories of abuse, from Australia to India to Great Britain.
Where does all this leave Kosnoff Fasy Stronger than ever. Our commitment continues as far as identifying victims and winning for them the justice they deserve. One goal is changing the culture in which secrecy prevails and crimes against children are allowed to continue in the shadows. That’s one reason why I welcome frequent exposure to a broader audience courtesy of television and print news media.

What began with the Lisa Davis book will not end for Kosnoff Fasy. Those who have been victimized by pedophiles should strongly consider coming forward to seek the justice they deserve. We’ll stand with you.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in child sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Minnesota is the latest state to change its laws, giving childhood sexual-abuse victims a better chance for justice

By DAN FASY

It’s been happening around the country, most recently in Minnesota. States are revising statutes of limitation for civil cases, providing abuse survivors more options to pursue cases previously barred. Last month, the Minnesota state Senate passed a bill – as did the House – affirming that the opportunities for bringing civil cases involving child sexual abuse must be expanded. Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill into law May 24th.

The Minnesota Senate event was attended by a man named Joel Juers, an adult who was victimized as a child by a pedophile. He told reporters after the Senate vote:

“It was a powerful moment. There were so many positive emotions that I couldn’t even cry.”

The Minnesota new law is known as The Child Victims Act. When it became law, it altered, expanded, and in some cases eliminated a statute of limitations for civil suits charging child sexual abuse. This means that victims who were sexually abused when they were younger than 18 years old may commence a lawsuit for damages arising from the abuse at any time, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. Defendants in future cases, of course, likely will include church institutions and other well-known organizations.

The legislation also provides a three-year period, during which victims whose claims would have been time barred by the previous statute of limitations, to bring civil suits against alleged abusers.

We at Kosnoff Fasy have represented hundreds of victims of alleged child sexual abuse in cases involving the Catholic and Mormon churches and the Boy Scouts of America. And we will continue to take cases arising in Minnesota.

As for Joel Juers: He has become a name and face for the refusal to succumb to the challenges he has faced. The following excerpts are from a recent story by Rebecca Rodenborg in the Faribault (Minnesota) Daily News:

“The man previously only identified as ‘Joel’ in a story about alleged sex abuse at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in 1980 has now found a reason to come forward more publicly.“

Joel Juers was just 14 years old when he says he was sexually abused by now former . . . teacher Joseph Machlitt. He didn’t tell police until last fall, when he said he realized Machlitt was recently employed as a tutor for Hispanic students in Edina.

Now at the age of 47, Juers has no chance for justice against his alleged abuser. Criminal charges were dropped because the statute of limitations had expired.

“… Called the Minnesota Child Victims Act, [the legislation] would allow anyone who was sexually abused as a child to bring a civil lawsuit at any time against his or her abuser or the institution that facilitated the abuse — no matter how long ago it occurred.“

Advocates like Juers say the new law would encourage victims of child sex abuse to come forward and potentially identify abusers who have never been caught and are still abusing children.

Jeff Dion, deputy executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, offered this perspective:

“Pedophiles don’t retire. Even when it’s 30 years after the abuse, the perpetrator is still alive. Maybe they’re in a walker or a wheelchair, but they may still be molesting kids.”

And, we would add, even if they aren’t any longer sexually molesting children, they still must be brought into court and face justice in civil cases. Contact us at Kosnoff Fasy if you agree.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in child sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Minnesota Senate OKs Bill Easing Lawsuits for Child Sexual Abuse

Change in Minnesota Law would:

Drop the statute of limitations for civil suits involving child sexual abuse going forward.

For older cases, it would create a three-year window for past victims to file lawsuits against abusers and institutions that may have failed to protect them

Posted on May 10, 2013

“This is a huge development. Other states likely will follow.”Tim Kosnoff
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/05/08/politics/senate-passes-bill-easing-lawsuits-for-child-sexual-abuse

Our attorneys are highly experienced in child sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Alleged Abuse by Hawaiian Priest Has a Familiar Ring to It

By TIM KOSNOFF

Cops know it as “M.O.” In Latin it’s “modus operandi” and in English it’s “mode” or “method” of operation.

In matters of child sexual abuse, the M.O. is often eerily the same. Such, according to recent allegations, was the case pertaining to Father George DeCosta, a priest in Hawaii. DeCostsa is listed in a database of priests publicly accused of childhood sexual abuse in Hawaii, as tracked by BishopAccountability.org. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/
The temptation is to use the cliché, “Stop us if you’ve heard this one.” At our law firm we’ve heard the familiar sounding account many times, and the details are as predictable as recurring bad dreams.

The following is from the Aug. 22, 2012, Hawaii Tribune Herald:
The child sex abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church has hit close to home, with fingers of accusation pointing at a priest revered in the local community.

Father George DeCosta, who for almost three decades was the parish priest at Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church in Keaukaha, has been accused of abuse by two Hawaii men. The two were students at Damien Memorial High School in the 1960s when DeCosta was the chaplain there. [One of the men] was a sophomore at Damien in 1968. …

The [victim] states that DeCosta provided him with alcohol, ‘insisted they go swimming’ and ‘forced’ him into skinny dipping. He wrote that he became ‘incapacitated’ and when he awoke DeCosta was ‘masturbating’ him and ‘fondling his testicles.

The victim went on to describe physical, emotional and psychological injuries due to the sexual abuse by DeCosta, including, but not limited to: dreams, nightmares and flashbacks. The 74-year-old DeCosta, denied the allegations. DeCosta retired from Malia Puka O Kalani in 2002 and is living in Volcano.

So here it is yet again: the familiar sequence. A trusted Catholic Church official is alleged to have been a pedophile. An alleged victim comes forward and gives vivid details of child sexual abuse, a modus operandi familiar to those of us who deal with such cases. Then the alleged perpetrator denies the charges and, until the claims are adjudicated, the accused — his reputation tarnished, if not ruined — nonetheless remains free.
There suddenly is one less priest “revered in the local community.”
And the victims? They’re left, here again, with shattered lives during seemingly every waking hour. Then, when they sleep, there are the predictable, recurring bad dreams. We’re here to help.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Joliet, Illinois: How one abuse victim pushed for release of secret church files, and prevailed

By DAN FASY

It could’ve been a heart-breaking tale. Instead it’s eminently heartening, about a man wanting to do more than settle his case with Catholic Church officials who, for more than half a century, were the enablers and protectors of pedophile priests in and around Joliet, Illinois.

In a superb story (URL below) by three Chicago Tribune reporters, it’s recounted how David Rudofski stood up to the power of the Joliet Archdiocese. Rudofski was sexually abused the day of his first confession. In settling his case, Rudofski demanded that church officials make public what proved to be more than 7,000 documents detailing how pedophile priests were protected and child victims were ignored.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03-21/news/chi-open-files-part-of-settlement-for-priest-sex-abuse-victim-20130320_1_joliet-diocese-abusive-priests-priests-with-substantiated-allegations
According to the Tribune article, church officials verified the claims of Rudofski, now a 38-year-old electrician. Part of the archdiocese’s offer to the abuse victim included a personal apology from a bishop and at least six times what Rudofski makes per year. This would have been in trade for the abuse victim limiting publicity.

Rudofski, however, according to the Tribune, wanted the diocese to pay in “a currency far more precious to the church than money. He demanded that the diocese settle its debt by turning over the secret archives it maintained on abusive priests and making them available for public consumption.”

“If people don’t know how this was allowed to happen for decades, they can’t prevent it from happening again,” Rudofski said.
The story details the importance of releasing pertinent information previously not made public. The reporters claim that “documents also raise new questions about whether the church has been forthcoming about the number of local priests involved in the scandal and the percentage of clergy confronted with credible claims.”

The story points to “the ineptitude and indifference that greeted the allegations almost since the religious district’s inception in 1948. The errors span more than six decades and involved three bishops, 91 places of worship and more than 100 victims.”

As an example of the entrenched indifference that continues to define church officials, the Tribune story notes that, reached at his home, retired Bishop Joseph Imesch, 81, said he didn’t want to discuss details of the revelations in the documents. He told the Tribune:
“‘I’m not going to rehash all of this. I know what I did; I know what I should have done,’ he said, expressing frustration with the way news reports portrayed his conduct.”

Other church officials responded to reporters’ queries by citing what they claim is statistical verification that pedophilia doesn’t occur among priests any more than it does among members of other professions.

David Rudofski has provided more than just a great service to other victims of child sexual abuse. He also has become a terrific role model who has the potential of emboldening many other victims to come forward and take on those responsible — officials who somehow believe an insincere apology from a retired bishop somehow makes it OK that the institution countenanced pedophiles’ crimes for six decades.

We at Kosnoff Fasy have welcomed as clients many victims similar to David Rudofski. Such victims deserve justice. Moreover, as Rudofski and others have shown, victims needn’t live in fear of pedophile-enabling organizations. We know that, in a court of law, the truth about child sexual abusers and their protectors will prevail.
We will advocate for you. Contact us at:855-LAW4-CSA, 855-529-4272.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338

Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

The Sad, But All Too Familiar Fact in Abuse Cases: Pedophiles are Often ‘Trusted,’ Well Known by Survivors and Relatives

By DAN FASY

A recent pair of links we posted on our Facebook page inadvertently demonstrate something of a range of ways the scourge of child sexual abuse is revealed to the public.

One is a news story about the aunt of an alleged victim discovering references to abuse incidents on her niece’s Facebook page. The allegations indicate that the predator is another member of the extended Indianapolis family.
If so, the case would jibe with several familiar patterns. One is the high likelihood that the pedophile would be well known by the victim — would, in fact, likely be a family member. Another is that the alleged victim waited, in this case about two years, before revealing what she remembers. Yet another is the implicit reluctance of the victim to more overtly come forward and charge the perpetrator.

One certainly can understand the reluctance. Imagine the feeling of powerlessness of, in this instance, a 13-year-old girl. She’s already been forced by circumstances to process what she claims are two cases of molestation. Then she has to summon the emotional wherewithal to come forward in some fashion and, in effect, let the world know what happened.
Obviously it requires the kind of courage no one should have to demonstrate.
Then there’s the related recent link on our Facebook page. Rather than being about average citizens with no claim to celebrity, it concerns a woman for whom celebrity has been a live-long given.
Her name is Anoushka Shankar. The last name belonged to her late father, Ravi, for half a century a name synonymous with sitar music. As it happens, Anoushka Shankar also is the half sister of singer Norah Jones, also Ravi Shankar’s daughter and a celebrity better known than any from the extended family.

Anoushka Shankar, herself an accomplished sitar-player and composer, is in the news precisely because of the familiarity of her name. She reported just a few days after attending the 2013 Grammy-award event in Los Angeles that she was repeatedly molested as a young girl by an apparent “family friend.”
The timing of her announcement, revealed in a video, has to do with her support of the One Billion Rising global movement for women’s rights.

In the video Shankar says: “As a child, I suffered sexual and emotional abuse for several years at the hands of a man my parents trusted implicitly. Growing up, like most women I know, I suffered various forms of groping, touching, verbal abuse and other things I didn’t know how to deal with. I didn’t know I could change.”

A Huffington Post story indicates that Shankar “has dedicated her ‘rising’ message to the 23-year-old Indian physiotherapy student who died after being brutally gang-raped by five men in New Delhi. ‘I’m rising with the amazing women of my country who are together calling and saying enough is enough. I’m rising for the child in me who I don’t think will ever fully recover from what happened to her.”
Shankar’s bold, selfless revelations bear at least one striking similarity to the Indianapolis story. In each case the accused perpetrator was known to — perhaps trusted by — the alleged victim.
What the two instances do not have in common may prove to be most notable. The fact is, the Shankar story no doubt will have far greater resonance with a much larger audience than that of an anonymous girl from Indiana. That the latter has been bold enough to reveal her story should be admirable to many. But the notion that a celebrity would tell a similar tale can’t help but make it at least incrementally easier for other heretofore reticent victims to reveal their own deeply guarded secrets.
In this way, we can at least hope that such victims, so emboldened, will help us bring to justice the myriad sex-abusers who otherwise will continue to prey on defenseless children.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

A 50-State Map of Reported Child Sexual-Abuse Cases within the Catholic Church

By TIM KOSNOFF

Certain Americans may miss seeing online and in various print media a blue-and-red-hued map indicating the state-by-state horse race that was the United States presidential election of last fall.

Perhaps interested parties might find another colorful U.S. map to be instructive. It’s done up in a veritable rainbow of colors, the brightness of the cartography scarcely coordinating with the dark details indicated in the map http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbydiocese.html.

The document is the work of a group called Bishop Accountability. The advocacy organization compiles evidence of child sexual abuse relating to crimes and accusations from Catholic dioceses in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. It’s quite a staggering scheme of details.

B.A. made headlines by releasing some 6,000 documents relating to the highly publicized child-sexual-abuse scandals in Philadelphia http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2013/01/24/latest-news-philadelphia-catholic-church-sex-abuse-scandal/

For a macro reckoning of crimes and transgressions throughout the country, go to the map indicated by the url above.

Point and click, for example, to Washington state. Highlighted are the Archdiocese of Seattle and the diocese of Spokane and Yakima.

Click Seattle. You’ll find a grid indicating nearly three dozen Catholic Church officials whose accusations are documented with details and links to news reports. The officials’ status is either “accused,” “sued,” “settled” or, in just one case, “convicted.” That would be Paul Joseph Conn, about whom it’s written in the website grid:

“In 5/88 Conn was charged with five felony counts of indecent liberties with minors. In 7/88 he pleaded guilty to molesting six boys between the ages of 11-13. Also admitted to abuse of others police did not know about. Sentenced to 4 yrs in prison. Also a former supervising priest of another abuser, James McGreal. Civil suit settled with archdiocese in 1996. Laicized.”
“Laicized” indicates that Conn was “secularized,” or driven from official church involvement.

Click Yakima. Thirteen names are given. None has been convicted.

Spokane? Only one among the 39 who have been accused and/or sued has been convicted. That would be Louis Wayne Ladenburger, about whom the Bishop Accountability notes indicate:
“Arrested 5/07 for sexual battery of teenage boys at Idaho school for troubled boys where he was a counselor. Admitted being a sex addict. Order revealed 2 past allegations of “inappropriate relationships.” Sent for treatment both times. Placed on restricted leave in 1993. Laicized in 1996. Pleaded guilty 11/07 just before trial. Sentenced to 5 years 3/08. Worked in dioceses of Stockton (twice), Tucson, Portland, El Paso, Spokane, Seattle, Sacramento, Reno, and Phoenix; aka Wayne 1963-74.”

If the 86 names populating the B.A. rolls in Washington state seem to amount to a staggering number, consider that Portland, Oregon, alone has 72 on its list. This is well behind Philadelphia, with 132, and Boston, with 251. Twenty-two of the latter were convicted with just one winning acquittal.

It’s worth noting that the volume of those accused of child sexual abuse doesn’t necessarily correlate with the size of the general population within a diocese region. New York’s number of accused Catholic officials is a relatively scant 63 while the database for the Los Angeles Archdiocese has 259 names.
What the casual observer no doubt will note is the cumulative numbers: hundreds of dioceses in the United States alone; thousands of names of accused and/or convicted pedophiles.

Bishop Accountability, then, is to be thanked for taking on the grim ongoing task of quantifying and qualifying Catholic Church-related crimes and accusations. I think of the growing B.A. database as the repository of the epoch. Its value certainly has earned the financial support of this law firm. The U.S. map at its website ought to garner the concern of everyone dedicated to mitigating what has amounted to decades of institutionalized child sexual abuse.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338

Priyanka Prakash, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590