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Seattle Man's Lawsuit Alleges Abuse By St. James Priest In 1950s


A Seattle man filed a lawsuit against the Seattle Archdiocese yesterday, alleging he was sexually abused for several years in the 1950s by a priest who has since died and that the archdiocese should have prevented it.

The plaintiff, who filed the suit anonymously in King County Superior Court, accused the Rev. Edmund Boyle of molesting him repeatedly at St. James Cathedral, where the priest served and where the man was an altar boy. The man said the abuse also happened at school and on Boyle's boat, and that he was between 8 and 10 years old at the time. The man named the personal representative of the priest's estate in his complaint.

Boyle, who died in 1995 at age 78, has been named in two lawsuits against the archdiocese that are pending. In July, a Portland man said Boyle molested him for 2 1/2 years starting in 1959 or 1960, when the man was 8 or 9 and attending the Briscoe School for Boys in Kent.

In February, three siblings a man and two women said Boyle molested them in the late '50s in their childhood home, on camping trips and at the rectory.

Boyle was in poor health when he retired in 1984 and moved to Nevada, according to the archdiocese. Three years later, he was charged with exposing himself to a 12-year-old, mentally retarded boy in a hospital where he served as a part-time chaplain, according to the Reno Gazette. He pleaded guilty to one count of lewdness with a child.

Earlier this year, Greg Magnoni, the spokesman for the Seattle Archdiocese, said church leaders did not know of any problems with Boyle until his arrest in 1987. Yesterday, he said he had not seen the most recent complaint and could not comment on it, but said the archbishop would be glad to meet with the plaintiff to offer pastoral care.

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