Helena diocese, nuns, victims to take sex abuse claims before mediator
HELENA – Attorneys for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, an order of nuns and hundreds of alleged sex abuse victims said Tuesday they will try to hammer out a settlement during a mediation conference in April.
If the sides fail to reach a deal, the case will head to trial tentatively set for December of next year. Judge Jeffrey Sherlock would have to decide whether to hold individual or group trials for more than 300 plaintiffs.
That’s the number of people who have claimed they were abused as children by priests and nuns in western Montana. The claims go back as far as the 1940s.
The plaintiffs, many of them Native Americans, are from two combined lawsuits filed last year against the diocese and the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province. They contend the diocese and the nuns knew or should have known about the abuse, but covered it up instead of stopping it.
One of the defendants, the Ursulines, is resisting having to appear before the mediator in Seattle for the week of April 15, claiming financial hardship and limited resources.
The cost of the mediation is expecte...
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.