WA- Abuse suits may soon settle against ex-WA Catholic cleric

For immediate release: Friday, May 9, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,[email protected]) 

Child sex cases against a Catholic cleric who molested more than 50 kids – and who worked at several Seattle area schools – are expected to settle soon. 


We urge Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to aggressively spread the word about his crimes and beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered them to call police. Specifically, we beg Sartain to put notices in parish bulletins and on church websites prodding victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police so that the cleric might be charged, convicted and kept away from kids.

The cleric, Brother Edward Courtney, belongs to a Catholic religious order, the New Rochelle, New York based Christian Brothers.

We urge Christian Brothers officials to explain and apologize for “paying Courtney’s way at (a university” to earn accreditation as a school principal” and writing “letters of recommendation on his behalf” even after they'd received multiple credible abuse reports against him (according to Seattle Weekly).

Over two decades from coast to coast, Br. Courtney was a principal, teacher and coach in ten schools (in New York, Nevada and Washington state) and is believed to be living now in Honolulu. We strongly suspect that neither Br. Courtney's neighbors nor his family really know the truth about him, so he could well be molesting kids even now.

Br. Courtney worked at parochial schools (O’Dea High School, St. Alphonsus, and Lady of the Lake) and public schools (in Tukwila, Parkland, and in Othello in Adams County).

According to Seattle Weekly, at his first assignment, Br. Courtney “almost immediately began to prey on young boys.” And we strongly suspect there are dozens of his victims in Seattle who have yet to come forward. 

Later in his career, “despite the church’s knowledge of his serial molesting in their schools,” Br. Courtney used “the Catholics’ recommendations to gain employment at public schools” in Washington and Nevada,” according to the Seattle Weekly.

The newspaper reports that perhaps “within days,” the Seattle Archdiocese may settle with an unknown number of Br. Courtney's victims.

We hope that settlement will bring some comfort to all of those who were hurt by Catholic clerics who commit and conceal these heinous crimes. And we hope it inspires others who were raped, sodomized, assaulted or molested by church staff to step forward, get help, expose wrongdoers and protect kids.

Many of Br. Courtney's victims are represented by Seattle attorneys Michael Pfau, Jason Amala and Darrell Cochran. Seattle attorney John Bergmann represents/represented Br. Courtney. Greg Magnoni is the Seattle archdiocesan spokesman.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,[email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])

Showing 7 comments

  • Larry Polte
    commented 2014-05-12 22:26:03 -0500
    Maura- thank you so much for the kind words and prayers. If you read the article in the Seattle Times Weekly link above, I am the freshman at St Laurence HS that is mentioned. The last few days have been difficult at best. Learning he is still alive living in Hawaii was like being abused all over. Same feelings of helplessness and anger. I keep telling myself if I do anything stupid, he wins again. I did what you have done a long time ago. My relationship with God is personal and I need no clergy of any faith. Right now, it’s one day at a time and tomorrow will be better than today. Again, thank you.
  • Maura Kennedy
    commented 2014-05-12 16:19:55 -0500
    Dear Larry,
    I only joined SNAP as of today, not because of any abuse of my own, but because while doing a research project I uncovered so much systemic abuse and cover up that I literally felt sick and outraged by people’s testimonies like your own. Having been raised Catholic in NYC (parochial schools, summer camps), I realize now how fortunate I was to have to dodged men as evil as Courtney. It pains me to think of your experience. I have since left the Catholic church and have come to have a more direct relationship with Jesus and God- but decidedly NOT through Priests. The man-made hierarchy of the church and its power we know often has nothing to do with God. Be strong and talk to “the Man with the keys”. I will pray for you daily because you will thrive in God’s light. Courtney IS a piece of garbage. God Bless,
  • Larry Polte
    commented 2014-05-10 18:00:42 -0500
    Thank you Ralph for your thoughts and prayers.
  • Ralph Hall
    commented 2014-05-10 17:06:41 -0500
    Hi Larry
    I read this and can relate to you.It seems like in that time it was a free for all and everyone Knew and did nothing bc of fear and not wanting to believe it was really happening and other factors.This is a sickness that is on a very large scale.
    As for me i have found that god allows evil to happen for a reason and forgiveness and faith and the word of the lord is my key to my new self and way of thinking Thank You Jesus.I wait on my lord and do the best i can with what i have.
    I Pray for you Larry and may he guide you to inner peace and healing.Keep an open mind helps.
  • Larry Polte
    commented 2014-05-10 15:06:29 -0500
    It’s a shame and hurts me very deeply that no one who writes about Courtney has the slightest clue about this piece of garbage. His abuse started long before he arrived in Washington. He molested who knows how many kids in the Chicago area in the 60’s and 70’s including myself. The Archdiocese of Chicago knew all about Courtney and in fact knew he was diagnosed as a clinical pedophile. What was their answer? Well, it was to transfer him from school to school so that he could prey on more children. We, the children were the sacrificial lambs that the Catholic church offered up to Courtney. Not a day has gone by in 40 years that I have not thought about hunting him down like the vile animal that he is and ending him in the most painful ways that I can imagine. He robbed so many of their innocence and his crimes are not limited to the victims he abused but also the families of the abused who were left with their damaged children desperately searching for ways to cope with this evil. Only those of us who have gone through this nightmare know that the damage is long lasting and we all are left with the same question Why? Not why it happened but rather why it was allowed to happen and even condoned by the Catholic church. Their sins can never be forgiven and the only REAL justice on this earth, would be the end of the Catholic church because that is the punishment they deserve……….
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