An Oregon man is seeking financial compensation from a major religious group, alleging that the Archdiocese of Portland subjected him to continued abuse during his childhood. The man, who is now 47, has pursued civil litigation against the organization, adding to the dozens of existing lawsuits that have already plagued the organization for years. The man alleges that he was raped and assaulted by a mentally ill priest during his childhood in the 1970s.
The man, along with several others who have alleged sexual abuse by the same priest, says that the church knew about the trend of abuse at least since the 1950s. That same priest allegedly molested boys for two decades before targeting the victim named in this suit. The man is seeking a $6.3 million settlement from the archdiocese, claiming that his life has become "broken" after he suffered the serious sexual assault.
The priest in this case died in 2002 after he was transferred to a care facility for those with Alzheimer's disease. He was banned from the priesthood about 11 years before his death. This victim said he was raped more than 20 times. The childhood abuse led to a long-term drug addiction and several stints in prison for the victim, who suffered such severe emotional ramifications that his life was forever changed.
News reports show that the civil disputes allege that the boy suffered personal injury from 1976 to 1978; he was an 11-year-old when the abuse started. That child's home had burned down during the previous year, and the priest reportedly provided him with a variety of counseling services during that time. Sadly, the priest took that opportunity to provide the child with cigarettes and alcohol, plying him for the assaults that would come later.
No religious official has the right to steal a child's innocence through sexual, emotional or physical abuse. Diocese leaders in this case should ensure that its parishioners are kept safe from predatory individuals. They can be punished for the wrongs already suffered by some children through civil litigation in Oregon courts.
www.oregonlive.com, "Sex-abuse lawsuit filed against Archdiocese of Portland alleging rape by notorious priest" Helen Jung, Oct. 31, 2013