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Former Priest Sued, Past Abuse Alleged of Spokane Girl

May 25, 2004 | Seattle Times

A lawsuit has been filed in Spokane County Superior Court alleging past sexual abuse of a girl by a former Spokane priest who now is a civilian employee of the Seattle Police Department.

The plaintiff claims in the suit that she was abused in the 1970s at Spokane's Assumption Parish and School, starting when she was about 12 years old. The suit says a church official was informed of the alleged abuse but didn't report it to authorities and instead blamed the girl.

The priest, who left the ministry, currently works as a victims advocate for the Seattle Police Department, which has placed him on administrative assignment while it investigates the allegation.

The department issued a statement late last week noting the employee has an unblemished 14-year career with the department. He "vehemently denies the allegations," said his attorney, Anne Bremner of Seattle.

The Seattle Times is not naming him because he is accused of criminal activity in a civil case that is unresolved.

In its statement, the Seattle Police Department said it had been notified by Spokane media in 2003 that the employee was the subject of an allegation of sexual molestation of a minor, stemming from his time as a priest.

The department said it tried last year to contact the Spokane Diocese and the attorney representing the alleged victim to request additional information, but neither responded.

Seattle police also said the Spokane Police Department investigated the 2003 complaint but found nothing to substantiate it. It was unclear whether the complaint involves the same allegations as last week's lawsuit, though Bremner said she believes they are the same.

A second lawsuit also was filed last week in Spokane County accusing another former Spokane priest of molesting a 6-year-old girl in the late 1960s. That priest was removed from the ministry in 2002 because of sexual-abuse incidents.

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