WA- Alleged predator priest is sued

He’s never been publicly “outed” before

Cleric worked in at least 4 Washington towns

One case has been filed, another one will be soon

SNAP: “He now lives among unsuspecting families” in Nevada

"Are there other child sex cases under the radar?” group asks

Victims challenge Seattle Catholic hierarchy about “openness


Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that

--a lawsuit has been filed naming a Seattle archdiocesan priest as an accused child predator (for what is believed to be the first time ever), and

--a second lawsuit by another victim will be filed soon.

They will also urge the Seattle archdiocese to

--disclose more about the priest’s crimes, work history and whereabouts, and

--warn families in Nevada (where he now lives) and his former parishes about him.

The group will urge also Catholic officials to publicly urge anyone else who “may have seen, suspected or suffered” misdeeds by him to come call police, and


Friday, Dec.12, 1:00 p.m.


On the sidewalk outside the Seattle Catholic archdiocesan headquarters (“chancery”) 710 9th Ave. (corner of Cherry St.) in downtown Seattle


Three-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director


A civil lawsuit has been filed charging that Fr. Michael John Cody repeatedly molested a Seattle area girl and that Seattle archdiocesan officials could and should have prevented the crimes. Another similar lawsuit, involving a different victim, will soon be filed, according to the woman’s attorneys.

Until now, the public has been largely unaware that Fr. Cody had been accused of child sexual abuse or adult sexual misconduct.

SNAP is calling on Archbishop Peter Sartain to disclose whether there is any other child sex abuse litigation the archdiocese is facing or has faced that has gone unnoticed.

The lawsuit, filed in June, says that Fr. Cody gave a then-14 year old girl liquor and “groomed and sexually abused her” in the 1960s at St. Charles parish in Burlington. The alleged victim, identified in the suit only by initials, now lives in Skagit County.

Fr. Cody now lives near Las Vegas, Nevada. He was ordained in 1958, retired in 2003, had several “leaves of absence and while at Sacred Heart in LaConner he also worked at the St. Paul Mission on the Swinomish Reservation.

“For the safety of children, parents and the public should know the names of every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric who is working or has worked in this archdiocese,” said Seattle SNAP director Mary Dispenza. “We can’t help but wonder if there are other alleged predator priests who have been sued but no one knows about.”

“Sartain once chaired the US Bishops Conference child sex committee,” said SNAP executive director David Clohessy of St. Louis. “So we challenge him to make his archdiocese a national church leader in openness and transparency about clergy sexual abuse.”

“For decades, US bishops have pledged to be ‘open’ about clergy sex crimes and misdeeds,” said Dispenza “But some bishops seem break these pledges often and families learn about potentially dangerous clerics only because victims are brave enough to take legal action against them.”

Over a clerical career of roughly 18 years, Cody worked in these Washington towns: Seattle, Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, LaConner and Auburn.

His alleged victims are represented by Seattle attorney Michael Pfau (206 462 4334206 794 2882 cell, mike@pcvalaw.com) and Bellingham attorney John W. Murphy (855 334 9522john@wmurphylaw.com).

Pfau represented 30 victims of Seattle area abusive clerics (including notorious serial predator Brother Edward Courtney) who reached a $12.125 settlement against the archdiocese in June. http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2023920154_archdiocesesettlementxml.html

(To compare that award with other substantial settlements, see: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/settlements/  )

The archdiocese’s lawyers in the case are Michael A. Patterson and Keith Talbot.


David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Mary Dispenza (425 644 2468mcdispenza@comcast.net), Robert Fontana (509 731 6012,roblori.fontana@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

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