Sex Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against Catholic Church

In two lawsuits filed today in U.S. District Court in Portland, two brothers, now adults, allege that their Catholic priest sexually abused them when they were children living in St. Paul, Oregon. Father James Harris served as a Catholic priest in the St. Paul Parish in Silverton, Oregon in the mid to late 1960s when he abused the brothers and one of their childhood friends.

Fr. Maurice Grammond also abused one of the brothers, the suit alleges.

Fr. Harris, now deceased, was the subject of at least four prior sex abuse claims, all settled by the Archdiocese of since 2006, said attorney Gilion Dumas, who is representing the men who filed today’s lawsuits.

The suits allege that the two Plaintiffs and their family knew Fr. Harris from church and school. When their stepfather was diagnosed with leukemia, Fr. Harris began visiting Plaintiffs’ home to spend time with the boys and their family on a regular basis. Fr. Harris took the brothers camping and on other overnight trips, sometimes with other boys. It was on these trips that Fr. Harris sexually abused them.

On one of these trips, Fr. Harris took one of the brothers to Seaside, Oregon where they stayed with Fr. Grammond, who molested the boy. Grammond is one of Oregon’s most notorious pedophiles. The Archdiocese of Portland first had knowledge that Grammond sexually abused boys back in 1957, said Dumas.

The men filed the lawsuits using pseudonyms, as allowed under court rules for sex abuse survivors. The older brother, now 60, lives in Marion County. The younger brother, now 59, lives in Kitsap County, Washington.


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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