Alaska natives sue Jesuits over abuse

SEATTLE, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The president of a Jesuit university in Washington State has been named in a lawsuit claiming he knowingly sent abusive priests to Alaska.

The suit filed in Alaska says the Jesuit order used Native villages as a "dumping ground" for priests who had a history of sexual abuse of children or were otherwise disqualified from serving elsewhere, The Seattle Times reported.


The Rev. Stephen Sundborg, who now heads Seattle University, was Jesuit provincial or regional director in the Northwest between 1990 and 1996. The suit claims that he had access to what was known as the "hell files," secret records on priests alleged to have been involved in misconduct.

"Father Sundborg remains steadfast in the belief that all victims of clerical abuse be treated with compassion and justice," Casey Corr, a university spokesman, said.

The Jesuit order has denied using Alaska to hide abusive priests. But it has also paid out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits.

The current suit, which also names the order, was filed by 40 Alaska natives who claim they were abused between the 1950s and 1990s by six Jesuits or priests supervised by Jesuits.


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