Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alaskan Natives file suit against Jesuits for rape

43 Alaskan Native Americans File Suit Against Jesuits for Rape, Sexual Assault; Alaska Was Catholic Church's Dumping Grounds for Rapist Priests

Jan 26th, 2009
Warning to victims: Graphic information follows
By Women's Space
Photo: Rena Abouchuk said a priest abused her, her brother and six of her cousins, all of whom later committed suicide. Photo Courtney Blethen/Seattle Times

Forty-three Alaskan Native Americans have filed suit against the 'Society of Jesus' (the Jesuits) for turning areas where Native Americans lived in Alaska into a virtual dumping ground for child-raping priests over decades and decades, beginning in the 1950s. The suit alleges that the Roman Catholic Church knew the priests it was sending to Alaska were child rapists and child molesters and didn't care. According to the complaint, as many as 15 rapist priests were working amongst the Athabascan and Yu'pik Natives; so far 300 of their victims have stepped forward to tell their stories.
Little girls were fondled, assaulted and raped in the churches, in rectories, in priests homes; little boys were raped as well. The areas in which the victims lived were isolated and often accessible only by sled. There were no police nearby to call, and even if there had been, which of them might have believed the reports of children and poor indigenous persons against this horrific number of priests? There were few or no health care providers or facilities in these areas so there were no health care professionals who would have recognized signs of sexual abuse.
According to the 78-page complaint,
* Anton Smario taught religion classes to the young girls After catechism Smario would let the young girls stay in the classroom at the rectory and play or color in coloring books, offering them food, juice and sweets as an inducement to remain after class. He would ask the girls to touch his penis, and would rub his erect penis on their backs, necks and arms. Sometimes he would wipe or rub his semen on the girls after he ejaculated.
* Father William J. Loyens, S.J., a member of the Society of Jesus since 1947 testified in his 2004 deposition that the 'Native population was fairly loose on sexual matters' and that heinous abuse of Native children by a priest would be 'less impressive' than sexual abuse of a white child and that heinous sexual abuse of Native children by a priest wouldn't have much of an impact.
* On unknown dates when she was approximately 8 years of age Plaintiff Jean Doe 3 was sexually molested by Father Endal on numerous occasions. The molestations included Father Endal forcing plaintiff to lie on his bed.. and penetrating plaintiff¹s vagina.
* On unknown dates when she was approximately 7 or 8 years of age, Plaintiff Jean Doe 4 was sexually molested by Father Endal. The molestation included Father Endal forcing plaintiff to touch his penis and Father Endal penetrating plaintiff's vagina. Father Endal then gave plaintiff money to keep quiet about the sexual abuse and told her she would burn in hell if she ever told anyone
According to the complaint, officials high in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church knew priests sent to Alaska were serial pedophiles and did nothing to protect children from them. Only two rapist priests are named in the suit, Father Henry Hargreaves and Jesuit volunteer Anton Smario; most of the other rapist priests have died.
The photo above (see link below for photo) is of a defendant in the lawsuit, Henry Hargreaves, S.J., who is apparently still a priest in good standing with the Society of Jesus. According to the complaint (in which Hargreaves was described as a known serial pedophile):
When he was approximately 5 through 6 years of age, Plaintiff James Doe 94 was sexually molested by Father Hargreaves The molestation included. Father Hargreaves forcibly bending plaintiff over Father Hargreaves bed and Father Hargreaves penetrating Plaintiff with his erect penis. Father Hargreaves held Plaintiff's arms tightly so that he could not escape. Father Hargreaves sodomized Plaintiff for approximately five minutes. For several days after being raped by Father Hargreaves, Plaintiff bled from his rectum, was in severe pain
Compare the above with this excerpt of what the Society of Jesus has up on the internet about Hargreaves, who is described as the 'last of the great missionaries.'
Henry Hargreaves left his imprint on the native peoples of western Alaska as probably the last of the great missionaries. Henry loves to tell the story of his arrival in Chevak, Alaska in 1949 as a newly minted priest. He walked from the Widgen aircraft to the parish residence where Fr. Paul O'Connor, S.J. greeted him by saying that he had housing meetings in Dillingham, Alaska, and here are the keys. Undaunted, Henry accepted the keys and took the challenge to begin the life of a missionary in the most undeveloped area of Alaska.
Some of the victims of the priests attended a news conference at Seattle University last Wednesday. The President of SU is named in the suit as having known priests sent to Alaska were pedophiles and doing nothing about it but instead maintaining what were referred to as 'hell files' relating to the priests.
According to news reports one victim, Florence Kenney, above, now 74, said she kept silent for almost 60 years. She told of the harsh discipline she suffered at the hands of the Jesuits, of the loss of her culture as a child and young woman, and of going to 'Father Supreme' at the mission for help at the age of 13, only to be sexually assaulted by him repeatedly. She is speaking out for the first time in 60 years because, she says, 'I want to speak for all the ones who couldn't speak. I'm speaking now because there's always a time, an end to silence and an end to secrets.'
Rena Abouchuk said a priest abused her, her brother and six of her cousins, all of whom later committed suicide. She read aloud a letter she wrote to the priest:
You did so many evil things to young children. You walked into my young life and so many others when we were small, innocent children, just six-, seven-, eight-year-old children, and took it all away from us, touching us in ways that I will never forget, you made us touch you, you did so many evil things in St. Michael's Church, Stebbins Church, and lived your life like you did nothing wrong. Someday you will have to answer to God.
More at:
Lawsuit alleges president of Seattle U knew of sex abuse
Says Sundborg had access to 'Hell Files'
Seattle University President Stephen Sundborg is named in a lawsuit alleging that Jesuit leaders covered up the crimes of priests who sexually abused at least 43 Native Alaskan children during the span of four decades.
The lawsuit, filed in Alaskan Superior Court in the city of Bethel, states that Sundborg had access to "Hell Files" -- private church documents detailing things priests had done that were "not good" -- when he was head of a Northwest order of Jesuits from 1990 to 1996. Read article:http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/396042_lawsuit15.html?source=mypi

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