March 10, 2009

Seattle Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Blames University President

The Seattle Times reported in an article on January 14, 2009 that the President of Seattle University, Rev. Stephen Sundborg, has been sued. The claim is that since he is president, Sundborg must have been aware of an abusive Jesuit priest. Nonetheless, the priest was allowed to continue with the ministry. According to the Seattle personal injury lawsuit, more than 40 victims claim to have been abused when they were children or teenagers by Sundborg and/or other defendants who are mentioned in the lawsuit. The suit also states that Sundborg had examined “hell files” which were files comprising of information about priests that was “not public,” and “not good.”

Given this information, Sundborg must have been aware of Rev. Henry Hargreaves past of child abuse. The priest now resides with a Jesuit community in Spokane.

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November 15, 2007

Catholic School Sexual Abuse Case - $1.1 Million Settlement

A man from Skagit County, sexually abused years ago by the principal of a Seattle Roman Catholic school, is receiving a $1.1 million settlement. This is one of the largest settlements in a single-plaintiff case in this state in the Catholic Church sex-abuse cases.

The man is a former student of St. Alphonsus School, and claims he was abused in 1980, at age 13. According to court documents, some church leaders knew for many years that the accused was sexually abusing students. Still, he was allowed to teach at several schools, including O’Dea High School and St. Alphonsus School. Both schools are in North Seattle. The settlement was reached with the Seattle Archdiocese, which owns O’Dea and owns/operates St. Alphonsus, and also with the Congregation of Christian Brothers, which operates O’Dea. Each party is responsible for paying half the $1.1 million.

The victim’s attorney stated that the large settlement was due to the fact that “the abuse was significant”. Another factor was the large number of witnesses who testified that both the Archdiocese and the Christian Brothers knew that many people had complained about the accused, and that he was potentially a problem.

A previous lawsuit against the same man, by five men who say he abused them at O’Dea in the 1970’s, was settled earlier this year for about $1.9 million.

According to Seattletimes.com, about 40 other men have sued the Seattle Archdiocese and the Christian Brothers, claiming past abuse by the brothers at both O’Dea, and at Briscoe Memorial School. The Briscoe Memorial School is no longer operational, but was located in Kent. These suits, most of which allege abuse at Briscoe, are being negotiated in groups. Approximately 15 of the men have settled their cases.

Since 2002, the Seattle Archdiocese has spent approximately $32.5 million in settlements with 249 plaintiffs. There are still 37 plaintiff’s claims remaining.

At Bernard Law Group, we help our client’s obtain the highest settlement possible in their cases. For more information, call now, 1-800-418-8282.