Archdiocese settles abuse cases from the 1970s

  • Written by Northwest Catholic
  • Published in Local

SEATTLE – The Archdiocese of Seattle recently reached final settlements for two separate cases involving allegations of sexual abuse that took place in the 1970s.

On June 17, the Archdiocese of Seattle, St. Benedict’s Abbey, and The American-Cassinese Congregation jointly reached a settlement for $225,000 for a case involving allegations of sexual abuse by Father John Forrester, who died in 2002. Forrester was a Benedictine priest from St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, and was serving as assistant pastor of All Saints Parish in Puyallup. He served in the archdiocese until 1979, when Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen received a complaint of sexual abuse and immediately removed him from service.

On August 20, the archdiocese reached a settlement for $250,000 for a case involving two members of the Christian Brothers of Ireland, Brother Frank Delamere and Brother William Donohue. The Christian Brothers, a now-bankrupt religious order, is a separate entity from the Archdiocese of Seattle. These brothers were accused of inappropriate behavior with a student at the Briscoe School in the early 1960s. The Christian Brothers operated the Briscoe School in Kent until its closure in the 1970s.

Forrester, Delamere and Donohue were included in the Archdiocese’s List of Clergy and Religious Brothers and Sisters for Whom Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Established or Determined to Be Credible, originally published in January 2016.

Commitment to Transparency

As part of its commitment to transparency, the archdiocese recently launched a new website called Protect and Heal. The website outlines the history of sexual abuse in the archdiocese, which peaked in 1975 and has since sharply declined. The site also outlines the steps the archdiocese has taken since the 1980s to address and prevent abuse, protect the community and help victims and their families heal.

To report any suspicion of abuse by any church personnel, contact local law enforcement. In addition, anyone who has knowledge of misconduct by a member of the clergy, an employee or a volunteer of the Archdiocese of Seattle is urged to call the archdiocesan helpline at 1-800-446-7762.