First Lawsuits Filed Against Portland Diocese by Native Americans

(For Immediate Release April 14, 2023) 

Four members of the Penobscot Nation have sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and Bishop Robert Deeley claiming they were sexually abused when they were children by three priests assigned to St. Ann Catholic Church on Indian Island.

Since the law that barred accusations of long-standing abuse was overturned, these lawsuits are the first ones brought by Native Americans against the diocese.

It is always hard to report abuse. It is even harder against powerful institutions. So, we are very grateful to every person who is playing a role in this case and bringing critical information to light. We hope their courage will inspire others to speak up, too.

We are elated that legislation in Maine affords victims the opportunity to file claims and we hope that these four brave individuals will receive the compensation they deserve for the pain they have carried alone for so long. We also encourage any other victims who have been time-barred from justice in Maine to come forward and get the help they need. At the same time, we know how difficult it can be to revisit the past, so we offer our network as a resource for those individuals navigating this difficult chapter in their lives. Please visit Child USA and SNAP Maine Survivor’s Toolkit for additional help.

CONTACT:   Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected] 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is


Showing 1 comment

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant