Victim of Mark Laverdure, Convicted Child Sex Offender, Sues Native American Youth and Family Center for Child Abuse


Carma Corcoran, Jennifer Noonan, Ashley Vaughn


In a lawsuit filed today in Multnomah County, a woman alleges she was sexually assaulted as a teenager by Mark Laverdure when she was a student at the Early College Academy (now known as Many Nations Academy) operated by defendant Native American Youth and Family Center (previously Native American Youth Association). Laverdure assaulted and harassed her several times in 2006-2007, and she witnessed him engaging in the same type of abuse with other high school girls at the school.

The plaintiff alleges that she told two NAYA employees, Tawna Sanchez and Patrick Eagle Staff, of Laverdure’s conduct while it was occurring in 2007, but they did nothing to stop Laverdure, and he continued to harass and assault her. Lavadure was later arrested and convicted in 2018 of sex crimes involving minors, including one minor female who claimed he harassed and assaulted her in the same way he did the plaintiff in this new case.

“A big reason I’m coming forward is to shed light on NAYA’s failure to act when I reported him in 2007,” said the plaintiff. “NAYA did nothing to protect the children in its care after they knew Laverdure was preying on girls.”

The plaintiff is represented by Ashley Vaughn of Dumas & Vaughn, a law firm that specializes in child sexual abuse lawsuits. Carma Corcoran, an expert on intergenerational trauma in the Native American community, is working with Vaughn on the case. “We want witnesses to know they will be heard and their culture will be respected,” said Corcoran.

Corcoran is an Instructor of Indigenous Native Studies at Portland State and the Director of the Indian Law Program at Lewis & Clark Law School.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff was in foster care, attended cultural events hosted by NAYA and, in 2007, began attending high school classes at NAYA’s Early College Academy when Lavadure assaulted her. Laverdure was an employee of and volunteer for NAYA at the time of the plaintiff’s abuse. He was a maintenance worker at NAYA’s Family Center and the Academy, and led cultural meetings and activities hosted by NAYA, including activities intended for and attended by children. Laverdure continued to be employed by NAYA as a “Facilities Specialist” until at least 2014, in a job that allowed him to be around children daily.

Tawna Sanchez is currently an Oregon State Representative and defendant’s Director of Family Services.

In 2017, Laverdure was criminally charged with 27 counts of various forms of unlawful sexual abuse and misconduct with five female children, some of whom interacted with Laverdure through NAYA-sponsored activities. The plaintiff in this new civil lawsuit was not one of the children involved in the earlier criminal case, which involved five children Laverdure allegedly abused from March 2003 to June 2014. Some victims involved in the criminal cases were as young as five when he allegedly began abusing them.

Like in this new civil case, one of the victims in the criminal case claimed that in 2014, when she was 17 and working as an intern at NAYA, Laverdure sexually harassed and groped her. She complained to NAYA’s Human Resources department. In 2018, Laverdure was convicted of six criminal counts, including first degree sex abuse, and the State dismissed the other counts pursuant to a plea agreement.

“Laverdure was convicted for repeatedly sexually abusing multiple girls.  Historically and from our experience representing survivors in other cases, we know that sex offenders often have many victims, so we absolutely believe that he had more victims and that there are witnesses with additional information,” said Vaughn.


Anyone with information regarding this matter is encouraged to contact Ashley L. Vaughn or Carma Corcoran at the contact information listed below:

Attorney Ashley L. Vaughn at 503-616-5007, ashley@dumasandvaughn.comConfidential website contact.

Carma Corcoran at 503-575-6328

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

newspaper templates - theme rewards