WA--Twice accused priest still on the job
Twice-accused priest still on the job
Victims want him ousted & questions answered
A seminarian saw him allegedly sexually violate a colleague
Priest reportedly brought both young men here from Mexico
And he was accused of refusing to pay them for work they performed
Group also announces a six figure settlement against another predator
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--disclose that a priest who was sued for alleged sexual assault now works in a Seattle parish, and
--provide copies of the lawsuit that was filed against him.
They will also urge Seattle’s archbishop to
-- suspend the priest immediately,
--“come clean” and answer questions about the priest’s past at a town hall meeting, and
-- publicly urge anyone else who “may have seen, suspected or suffered” misdeeds by him to come call police (using church websites and pulpit announcements).
They will also announce a new $675,000 settlement against a different Seattle area predator priest who assaulted kids.
Monday, March 16, 1:00 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Seattle Catholic archdiocesan headquarters (“chancery”) 710 9th Ave. (corner of Cherry St.) in downtown Seattle
Three-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director
1) Two young seminarians sued Fr. Horacio Yanez and the archdiocese charging that he sexually assaulted and harassed them while refusing to pay them for work they performed at his parish. That suit was settled in 200__??
But Fr. Yanez is now the pastor of Holy Family parish (9622 20th Ave SW at Southwest Roxbury) in South Seattle's White Center neighborhood (206-767-6220, Pastor@HFseattle.org). The parish also has a parochial elementary school next door. http://hfsparish.weebly.com/apps/search?q=yanez
SNAP learned that Fr. Yanez is now in a church from two concerned Seattle parishioners. SNAP believes this assignment is “an irresponsible move that violates bishops’ pledges to be ‘open’ about clergy sexual misdeeds.” SNAP wants Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to suspend Fr. Yanez, disclose details about the case against him, and hold an open “town hall” style meeting at Holy Family so that his flock can question the archbishop about the situation.
The case - Jesus Alcazar et. al. vs. the Seattle archdiocese/archbishop (Case # CV06-00281RSM) – was filed in Snohomish County Superior Court in 2006. The alleged crimes happened at St. Mary's Parish (360 653 9400, firstname.lastname@example.org) in Marysville, where Fr. Yanez was the pastor.
Alcazar said he was sexually assaulted and harassed by Fr. Yanez. Another Mexican seminarian, Caesar Rosas, said that he had witnessed the harassment, the suit says. Both seminarians were brought to the US by Fr. Yanez. And neither was paid for work they performed for Fr. Yanez.
After Alcazar and Rosas reported their victimization to church officials in 2004, both accusers were transferred St. Benedict’s Church in Seattle. Later, church officials kicked them both out of church accommodations and fired them. Both men are believed to be living now in Mexico, where they are from.
Several times, Alcazar said that he “received sexually explicit emails and videos from Fr. Yanez.” The priest allegedly told Alcazar “that he was very handsome” and “dedicated songs to Alcazar and told Alcazar that he believed the Church should accept homosexuals,” according to the suit. Fr. Yanez also allegedly made sexual advances toward Alcazar on two different spiritual retreats in 2002.
“Seattle Catholic officials seem to say ‘You can sexually harass vulnerable adults and still be a pastor.’ That’s an alarmingly reckless message and practice,” said SNAP executive director David Clohessy of St. Louis. He has twice been to Seattle recently and spoken with a number of concerned Catholics. “If the archbishop and his staff think Fr. Yanez is innocent or ‘cured,’ they should say so publicly, instead of continuing the destructive secrecy that keeps enabling more predators to hurt more parishioners.”
“For decades, bishops have pledged to be ‘open’ about clergy sex crimes and misdeeds,” said Robert Fontana, a Seattle parishioner. “But there’s nothing on the Holy Family parish or the archdiocesan websites about the serious allegations against Fr. Yanez. Parents have a right to know exactly what the allegations are against Fr. Yanez, and the specific conclusions of diocesan investigation. If and when they are fully informed, then they can decide if Fr. Yanez may be with their children, not diocesan officials.”
In dozens of cases, SNAP says, Catholic officials “revisit” older allegations and sometimes, new church officials or review panels find new evidence or reassess old evidence and suspend accused priests.
“Why not hire an independent investigator to take a closer look at whether or not Fr. Yanez committed these crimes - or others - and whether he belongs in a parish among uninformed and unsuspecting families?” asked Fontana. “Bishops are always claiming they way to restore the trust of the laity. What better way to do that than to be prudent and honest in this case?”
Fr. Yanez’ photo can be found at http://seattletimes.com/html/picturethis/2023423117_sundayeasterservice.html
Before working in Marysville, he worked for many years as pastor of St. Louise parish in Bellevue (425 747 4450, http://stmaryvalleybloom.org/bulletin17may09.html)
The alleged victims were represented by Seattle attorneys Becky Roe (206 622 8000, email@example.com) and Kathy Goater (206 622 8000, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Bellevue WA attorney Peter Polito. The archdiocese’s lawyers in the Yanez case were Michael A. Patterson (206 462 6702, email@example.com) and Karen Kalzer (206 689 2125, firstname.lastname@example.org).
A copy of a nine-page decision – just about the employment aspects of the case (which the alleged victims lost) - is at http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2010/12/10/09-35003.pdf
2) A $675,000 settlement has been reached between a victim of Fr. Barry G. Ashwell and the Seattle archdiocese. The suit, filed in 2013, charged that the priest abused the boy at St. Pius X parish in Mountainlake Terrace.
Ashwell, who went by Fr. George Barry Ashwell and Fr. G. Barry Ashwell, is still alive but is no longer a priest. He was accused in lawsuits of sexually abusing at least four boys, one at St. Augustine parish in Oak Harbor in the 1970s, and the other three (for whom he was a licensed foster parent) at St. Joseph parish in Vancouver parish where he was pastor for 20+ years. After the first lawsuit in 1996, Seattle Catholic officials let him continue in ministry.
Ashwell also worked at churches in Bellevue, Federal Way, Coupeville, Buckley, Bremerton and Wilkeson. His photo and work history are posted at BishopAccountability.org. In 2001, he was put on administrative leave after an allegation surfaced (Seattle Times, 4/12/02) and in 2005, Ashwell was defrocked by the Vatican. He was ordained in 1996.
The victim was represented by Seattle attorney Mike Pfau (206 794 2882, email@example.com). The defense lawyers were Michael A. Patterson and Keith A Talbott.
David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Mary Dispenza (425 644 2468, email@example.com), Robert Fontana (509 731 6012. roblori.Fontana@gmail.com
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.