- Created on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:50
- Written by Msgr. Robert Siler
The Diocese of Yakima recently settled, for $205,000, a lawsuit alleging abuse by the late Father Frank Duffy, S.J., who served at St. Joseph Parish in Yakima, among other parishes. Fr. Duffy was very active in the Spanish-speaking apostolate prior to his removal from ministry in 1989. He died in 2002. This story, printed in the Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper, is a balanced account of the settlement: Diocese settles abuse claim
There are, however, a few important points not included in the story:
- Except for a $10,000 deductible, the entire settlement, and associated legal costs, was paid by Catholic Mutual, the diocese's insurance carrier.
- A year ago, representatives of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) came to St. Joseph Parish to apologize for past incidents of abuse, including any abuse by Father Duffy.
- While the Diocese is not able to pay large cash settlements without the help of insurance, it is our consistent approach to offer free counseling to those who report abuse, whether or not the abuse has been proven. When an abuse report comes to our attention through a lawsuit, the Diocese's hands are usually tied, making it more difficult to offer assistance. And the reality is that plaintiffs' attorneys often receive as much as 50 percent of settlements, in attorney fees and legal costs.
Abuse of vulnerable persons remains a significant, yet under-emphasized problem throughout our society. The Diocese and the church overall have established protocols to minimize the risk of future abuse. Bishop Tyson deeply regrets any and all incidents of abuse in the diocese. Building on the efforts of preceding bishops, he is committed to ensuring our parishes and schools are safe places for our children and all vulnerable members of our community. The diocese hopes that all segments of our society join it in working toward that essential goal.
If you have been abused or victimized by a member of the Catholic clergy, please believe in the possibility for hope and help and healing. We encourage you to come forward and speak out. The Yakima Diocese has a sexual abuse hotline for those who wish to report some incident concerning that issue as regards a bishop, priest, deacon or diocesan employee or volunteer. (888) 276-4490