WA- Abuse suits may soon settle against ex-WA Catholic cleric
For immediate release: Friday, May 9, 2014
Child sex cases against a Catholic cleric who molested more than 50 kids – and who worked at several Seattle area schools – are expected to settle soon.
We urge Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to aggressively spread the word about his crimes and beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered them to call police. Specifically, we beg Sartain to put notices in parish bulletins and on church websites prodding victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police so that the cleric might be charged, convicted and kept away from kids.
The cleric, Brother Edward Courtney, belongs to a Catholic religious order, the New Rochelle, New York based Christian Brothers.
We urge Christian Brothers officials to explain and apologize for “paying Courtney’s way at (a university” to earn accreditation as a school principal” and writing “letters of recommendation on his behalf” even after they'd received multiple credible abuse reports against him (according to Seattle Weekly).
Over two decades from coast to coast, Br. Courtney was a principal, teacher and coach in ten schools (in New York, Nevada and Washington state) and is believed to be living now in Honolulu. We strongly suspect that neither Br. Courtney's neighbors nor his family really know the truth about him, so he could well be molesting kids even now.
Br. Courtney worked at parochial schools (O’Dea High School, St. Alphonsus, and Lady of the Lake) and public schools (in Tukwila, Parkland, and in Othello in Adams County).
According to Seattle Weekly, at his first assignment, Br. Courtney “almost immediately began to prey on young boys.” And we strongly suspect there are dozens of his victims in Seattle who have yet to come forward.
Later in his career, “despite the church’s knowledge of his serial molesting in their schools,” Br. Courtney used “the Catholics’ recommendations to gain employment at public schools” in Washington and Nevada,” according to the Seattle Weekly.
The newspaper reports that perhaps “within days,” the Seattle Archdiocese may settle with an unknown number of Br. Courtney's victims.
We hope that settlement will bring some comfort to all of those who were hurt by Catholic clerics who commit and conceal these heinous crimes. And we hope it inspires others who were raped, sodomized, assaulted or molested by church staff to step forward, get help, expose wrongdoers and protect kids.
Many of Br. Courtney's victims are represented by Seattle attorneys Michael Pfau, Jason Amala and Darrell Cochran. Seattle attorney John Bergmann represents/represented Br. Courtney. Greg Magnoni is the Seattle archdiocesan spokesman.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.