Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Monday, April 12, 2010

Child sex abuse claims against former Catholic priest in Kirkland, WA; SNAP responds

Statement by Barbara Blaine, SNAP president 312-399-4747

Let's hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered Funnell's misdeeds will call police, get help, expose wrongdoing and start healing.

When credible child sex abuse allegations surface, bishops have a duty to use their vast resources to beg victims and witnesses to step forward. Unfortunately, few bishops take this simple step that could help protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. Instead, they do the absolute bare minimum, leaving many wounded adults to suffer in silence, shame and self blame and leaving police and prosecutors scrambling to put together a strong case against the predator.

SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s largest and oldest support group for victims of clergy sexual abuse. Founded in 1988, SNAP has over 9,000 members.

David Clohessy, 314 566 9790, [email protected]
Barbara Dorris, 314 862 7688, [email protected]

Child sex abuse claims against former Catholic priest in Kirkland

By MATT PHELPS - Kirkland Reporter Staff Writer - Today, 10:37 AM

Allegations of sex abuse against priests in the Catholic Church have stretched around the world.

The latest comes from a former Kirkland resident who claims he was sexually abused by James Funnell, former youth minister at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Kirkland during the mid to late 1980s.

The lawsuit, filed March 5 in King County Superior Court, seeks damages from the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle for alleged negligence in failing to prevent the child sexual abuse.

According to the complaint, the victim was around 12 years old when the abuse began. The man claims that the abuse occurred at the church and at Funnell's home from about 1983 to 1987.

According to court documents, the victim was "conditioned to comply with James Funnell's direction and to view and respect him as a person of authority in spiritual, moral and ethical matters ... using direct or indirect threats or promises, to engage in various sexual acts."

“This is another sad case of lasting emotional damage from childhood sexual abuse,” said attorney James S. Rogers of Seattle, who represents the victim.

The complaint states that the Archdiocese did not properly investigate Funnell's background and upon learning of Funnell's activities, the Archdiocese failed to act in a timely manner. The complaint also asserts that the Archdiocese did not seek out victims to mitigate the damage that it inflicted.

Funnell was convicted in 1989 of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes in an unrelated incident.

“With front page articles in newspapers around the world concerning the Pope and the clergy, sexual abuse of boys in Germany and the sexual abuse of deaf boys in Wisconsin, there is still no end in sight to this problem,” said Rogers.

Rogers said that the case is still in the discovery process.

Kirkland Reporter Staff Writer Matt Phelps can be reached at [email protected] or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests