Despite abuse allegations, a Jesuit with Alaska ties worked for a prominent Northwest university for years
In 2011, the Jesuit Order in the Northwest settled a bankruptcy case for $166 million. It’s one of the largest settlements in Catholic church history. A small fraction of that money — less than $500 every month — is going to a man who spent most of the last year behind bars at the Anchorage Correctional Center. His criminal history includes a lot of alcohol-related violence and he blames much of his record on an experience he had with a Catholic priest when he was still a child.
“I was young, I was innocent,” said the man, now 31, back in January. He wore yellow prison-issued scrubs. He alleges a Jesuit named Father Brad Reynolds, S.J., sexually abused him when he was a child. “Ever since then I’ve been a violent person,” he said. His V-neck shirt revealed a sea of tattoos: references to marijuana and other drugs, a demonic Virgin Mary, and the words “trust no bitch.” He said he got that one after a girlfriend broke his heart. Days later, he was out on bail.
Father Brad Reynolds was never officially assigned by his religious order, the Jesuits, to work in Alaska, but he visited a number of Alaska Native villages frequently. For more than 20 years, he’d come north to take photos of daily village life and write about the people here. In 1990, National Geographic published an article he wrote about life in Interior Alaska.
In 2008, that man in prison and another male relative filed a lawsuit in Bethel Superior Court. They allege Reynolds sexually abused them, when they were nine and eleven years old. The Anchorage Daily News has agreed not to identify the village where they grew up or the people in this story because of privacy concerns for survivors of sexual abuse.
The details in the lawsuit are graphic. One of the boys said Father Reynolds used a vacuum cleaner to masturbate him. It also says the priest would lure them with video games and offer them homemade oatmeal cookies in exchange for sexual acts.