Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Jesuits May Be Named In Oregon Abuse Scandal With Over Fifty New Allegations

The floodgate is open and victims are pouring through.

It's been less than two weeks since attorneys Tim Kosnoff and John Allison came to Missoula to talk about a bankruptcy case involving Jesuit priests in the Northwest. Kosnoff and Allison represent people who were abused by Jesuits, and that abuse is the primary reason for the bankruptcy filing. Since 2001, the Jesuits have paid out more than $25 million to sexual abuse victims.

But more who've never told their stories remain.

"We've never quite seen anything like it," Kosnoff, a Seattle attorney, said Monday. "We've had a dozen more calls just over the weekend."

A recent ruling by the bankruptcy judge sent Kosnoff and Allison to Montana. The judge ordered that all potential abuse victims make a claim by Nov. 30.

"The notice period is short and we are just getting the word out there now," said Kosnoff. "If we had six months more, I'm sure we'd find a lot more victims, but we've got to work within the time set by the court."

Kosnoff and Allison were initially focused on two priests - both of whom have died - who worked in western Montana over the past 60 years. Father Bernard Harris worked at St. Francis Xavier in Missoula in the late 1950s and '60s, while Father Augustine Feretti spent time on the Flathead and Rocky Boy's Indian reservations.

"We've had a lot more claims involving those men, but we're also getting some new names that we're going to have to follow up on,"
said Kosnoff. "This has really opened the floodgates in Montana and the region."

Kosnoff said the Jesuit bankruptcy will likely flush out more victims than would have ever filed civil suits had the priests not declared it.

"We were surprised they did it, and they've definitely been hoping people wouldn't come forward," Kosnoff said. "I don't think hardly any cases have been coming out of Montana, but that's changed now. These guys were busy over here and it seems like people are going to step forward and tell what happened to them."

Since a Missoulian story on Sept. 4, more than 50 victims have contacted the attorneys. Kosnoff said some of those callers have poured out their stories, often telling them for the first time.

"I've talked to people who are talking about this for the first time since the abuse happened," he said. "They haven't told their wives, their husbands or anybody. I've gotten the sense that they are just deeply relieved to finally get this off their shoulders."

Link (here) to the full story.

Photo is of an old church on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation (here)

10 comments:

Joseph Fromm said...

Dear Readers,

I would be a good time to pray for your favorite Jesuits. It would be an even better time to pray and offer Masses those Jesuits that may have let you down.

If I may suggest that the intersession of St. Barbara and St Stanislaus Kostka, S.J.,in your prayers for Jesuits, St. Barbara's Eucharistic miracle and the suffering of St. Kostka may hold some fruit for all.

JMJ

Joe

Anonymous said...

What is even as scandalous as this is the total absence of some kind of Church authority overseeing these priests and these problems at the time. Too many religious leaders, bishops knew and did nothing. Katharine Drexel must be turning over in her grave. The souls of these children were raped. The damage can only be healed by God. However the perpetrators and the leadership must be exposed and punished.

Rose, Washington State, USA said...

We are ten years into correcting these horrid events of the past. I thought there was a statue of limitations established in these matters for charges? There is no way a dead priest can be charged.

At this advanced time, council and help for the living is a better way to heal.

I think the church has made every effort to remove offending clergy and assist those who have had these experiences.

Abuse of children is a crime and it is heart breaking to hear these cruel things.

Anonymous said...

money money money it really brings out the accusations.....

$$$$ lets get some money money money I mean they dead right

sing with me

money money moneyyyyy....

Anonymous said...

money, money, money ... its the only this that gets this corrupt hierarchy's attention ... sing it!

... but it won't do a damn bit of good for the boys and girls who grew up to hang or shoot themselves.

Be some cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, nuns, and religious teachers & housekeepers who "looked the other way" ... gonna NOT know what to say come Judgement Day!

and the gullible Catholic sheeple just keep pray, pay and obeying ...

Christopher O said...

All of a sudden all these people come forth with supposed repressed memories of being abused? I think this should send red flags up in any critical thinking persons mind. Sounds like a mob trying to beat the bankruptcy filing so they can cash in.
These are allegations and have to be proven in a court of law, lets not all rush to judgment and claim guilty before a fair trial.

Joseph Fromm said...

In my opinion this story is not about money at all. But an attack on the Holy Eucharist by the dark spirit. If he can break a Jesuit from the priesthood, he separates the Jesuit from the Mass and the communicant that would have participated in those Holy Sacrifices.

This is spiritual warfare and this war must be fought in a spiritual way. The Oregon Province has experience a supernatural "Fallujah", it needs to regroup and get reinforcements and go back in and retake the Holiness that was lost and secure the area for our Lord and Savior.

Anonymous said...

You cannot award damages against someone who is dead and hence not here to defend himself.

Just a money grab.

Anonymous said...

In a rush to judgement, it appears the attorneys bringing this suit against Fr. Harris have already condemned him in the court of public opinion.

I knew Fr. Harris, as a student and a counselee for at least 2 years at Loyola High School in Missoula in the later 60's. While believing any man is capable of sins, even grave ones, Fr. Harris, like all persons, deserves a fair hearing. There were certainly opportunities for him to have "made Advances" upon me (at the Jesuit's "Villa" in Grant Creek), but nothing of that nature ever occurred.

At the present time, certain "allegations" seem to be treated as facts, which serves to condemn this man unjustly. Dates of service, locations of incidents and circumstances alleged are, in many cases, unconfirmed, spurious, contradictory or less than completely credible.

Since I am in the process of discussions with legal personnel involved in this matter, I've chosen to list my comments anonymously for the time being. Anyone in the Missoula community who knows me will confirm that hiding my identity is not something I do under any circumstance. However, this is one time when doing so is appropriate.

I agree with Joseph Fromm - prayer to Our Lord God is the best possible action. If Fr. Harris is guilty, our prayers may allow him the Divine Mercy his soul requires. It is also needed for true victims, whoever they may be, if they, in fact, exist.

If he is innocent, as I believe he is, prayer for his false accusers, the attorneys who may be fomenting this action, and for any Jesuit or Catholic scandalized by the accusations, is a gift of eternal value.

If you are a former Loyola student who can, with dates, times, places and other facts, confirm the allegations, then by all means come forward. If you have facts that will protect an innocent man, I ask you to speak out as well.

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