Jesuits Settle Sex-Abuse Suit for $166M

Staggering case involves 470 victims in Pacific Northwest
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2011 6:31 AM CDT
Catholic Sex Abuse: Jesuits in Pacific Northwest Settle for $166 Million
Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the abuse stretched from the 1940s to the 2000s and involved almost 500 children.   (Shutterstock)

A Catholic order will pay $166 million to some 470 survivors of sexual abuse and "spiritual incest" in a case of staggering scale that dates back to the 1940s at Jesuit-run schools in the Pacific Northwest. The victims were almost all Native Americans and Native Alaskans, notes the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in what one survivor calls a "generational trauma." The settlement has bankrupted the Society of Jesus' Oregon Province; however, none of the alleged 50 priests, nuns, and lay workers involved have gone to prison.

"Instead of teaching these Native American children about the love of God, these pedophile priests were molesting these children," says a plaintiffs' attorney. The suit alleged that Jesuits shifted known pedophiles into mission schools. The median payment will be about $300,000 per victim. "They'd rather have their childhoods back than dollars," said a lawyer. "Unfortunately, (dollars are) what our system provides." (More child sex abuse stories.)

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