Two Cases of Clergy Abuse Settled in Seattle

Two Cases of Clergy Abuse Settled in Seattle


For immediate release, April 29, 2022

Washington’s largest Catholic diocese has settled two more claims from victims alleging sexual abuse at the hands of a priest and a lay volunteer in Seattle. We applaud the bravery of these survivors and hope that their example will encourage other, still-silent victims to come forward to family, friends, or law enforcement.

The two cases settled against the Archdiocese of Seattle represent one case of abuse from the 1970s – accusing volunteer David Pearson – and one case of abuse from 1987 -- implicating Fr. Paul Conn. As time marches on, more and more survivors from the 1980s and 1990s are starting to come forward. Cases like these are examples of the reality of delayed disclosure in cases of childhood sexual abuse and reflect the fact that the average age at which an abuse survivor first reports is 52. Essentially, this means as we get deeper into the 2020s, we can expect to see more survivors from the 1980s and 1990s speaking out.

Now that these cases have been settled, we call on Church officials in Seattle to use this as an opportunity to update their list of accused priests. Given that Mr. Pearson, one of the men against whom a case was settled, was a volunteer, we think now is the perfect opportunity for the Archdiocese to list him and any other volunteer or lay employee who abused children, a cohort that consistently makes up about 20% of cases of abuse according to secular investigations of church-related abuse.

We also believe that the Archdiocesan list may not be complete. Our own internal analytics suggest that a diocese the size of Seattle should be associated with 150+ abusers, a number that is almost double the existing Seattle list. Hopefully, this latest news will spur action, not only from Catholic officials who owe their parishioners transparency but from elected law enforcement officials who can and should open a full investigation into the abuse of the vulnerable within the state of Washington.


CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]), Mary Dispenza, SNAP Leader Seattle (425-644-2468, [email protected])

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

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