Jesuits Settle Sex Abuse Claims for $166 Million
In one of the largest-ever settlements in the Catholic church’s global child rape pandemic, an order of Jesuit priests agreed today to pay $166.1 million to hundreds of Native Americans and Alaska Natives who were sexually abused at the order’s schools throughout the Pacific Northwest.
According to the Associated Press and National Public Radio (NPR), the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus will pay more than 450 victims, some of whom were raped by priests when they were as young as 6 or 7, and offer written apologies as well.
“It’s a day of reckoning and justice,” said Clarita Vargas, who along with her two sisters was sexually abused by the head of the St. Mary’s Mission and School, a former Jesuit-run Indian school on the Colville Reservation near Omak, Washington. The abuse occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Much of the abuse happened in these remote areas, where troubled priests were often dumped and forgotten.
The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, which has already settled around 200 other abuse claims, ran schools in villages and on Indian reservations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. The order is now bankrupt, they say because of settlements like this one. But it owns Gonzaga University, Gonzaga Preparatory School, Seattle University and other schools and real estate.
The $166.1 million settlement is the third-largest paid out by the Catholic Church in the global child rape pandemic. The Los Angeles Diocese paid $660 million to 508 victims, and the San Diego Diocese paid $198 million to 144 victims, according to BishopAccountability.org.
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