Idaho Catholic Church Facing Overdue Sex Abuse Spotlight

Several men have come forward to accuse Idaho priest of child molestation. As an investigative report in The Idaho Statesman explains:


To date, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise has avoided the level of public criticism over abuse cases that took place in cities such as Spokane and Portland. [This] account, and the February arrest and charges against the retired Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, bring renewed accusations that Idaho church leaders failed to swiftly and properly handle credible abuse allegations for 40 years.

Idaho’s extended statute of limitations for child sex abuse does not apply retroactively to abuse that happened before the statute was passed in 1989. As reflected in this story, most victims, especially men, don’t come forward for decades.  Idaho’s current statute won’t help them.

Idaho should consider updating its statute by adding a retroactive provision or a window to allow claims for earlier abuse.

Otherwise, victims of abuse prior to 1989 may be able to bring civil claims for fraud if there is evidence the Catholic Church knew a particular priest was a child molester and allowed him to continue as a priest. We have successfully made similar claims in Idaho against the Boy Scouts and the Mormon Church.

Idaho is a predominantly Mormon state and the Catholic Church in the United States has always considered that area of the country to be missionary territory.  Having said that, we know from experience that it was in such mission territories that much of the sexual abuse of children occurred.  One need look no further than Australia and South America for evidence.

According to the Idaho Statesman, the case of Father James McSorley is a particularly sordid one especially because at least two bishops, eight priests and several others knew that McSorley was abusing children. None of them told police.

The Faucher case, the most recent one involving the Catholic Church in Idaho, involves not only child sexual abuse but pornography.  This may be just the tip of the iceberg in Idaho.


Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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