The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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Alaska victims reach settlement with Oregon Jesuits
$50 million settlement is largest ever against a religious order
However, known and admitted predators still housed and supported by Jesuit leadership
Diocese of Fairbanks still refuses to accept responsibility
Alaska Natives abused en masse by clergy, entire generations destroyed
November 18, 2007 - Today, attorneys for 110 Alaska Native victims of sexual abuse announced a $50 million settlement with the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus. This is the largest single settlement against a Catholic religious order.
The settlement does not include the Diocese of Fairbanks, whom victims say bears an equal responsibility for the wide-scale abuse of hundreds of children in remote Alaska Native Villages.
"No amount of money can ever bring back a childhood, a soul, or a community," said Ken Roosa of Anchorage, Alaska, one of the victims' attorneys. "In some villages, it is difficult to find an adult who was not sexually violated by men who used religion and power to rape, shame and then silence hundreds of Alaska Native children. Despite all this, no Catholic religious leader has yet to admit that problem priests were dumped in Alaska. For our clients, this settlement represents a long overdue acknowledgment of the truth of their stories of abuse, stories that until today were largely denied and belittled by apologists for the abusers. For so many, this day will be the day they remember all their lives."
The lawsuits are still active against the Diocese of Fairbanks, who owned and managed the churches in the villages where the Jesuit priests and volunteers were assigned.
"The Jesuits' responsibility does not end by simply writing a check," said victims' attorney John Manly of Newport Beach, CA. "This abuse has caused a whole culture to bear an overwhelming sadness and deep, abiding pain. The Jesuit leadership must take full accountability for what they did to these kids."
Manly and Roosa also maintain that court documents show that the Jesuits never called law enforcement to report known and continuing crimes.
"Catholics who donate to Jesuit universities and programs should ask some very tough questions about why the leadership lied about abuse, allowed Native kids to be raped and why they are still protecting admitted abusers," Manly said.
A press conference has been scheduled for TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20 at 2:00 pm
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests