Judge dismisses Fairbanks priest abuse case

Posted: Wednesday, August 04, 2010

ANCHORAGE - A sexual abuse case against a 75-year-old priest has been dismissed by a federal judge, Catholic diocese officials in Fairbanks said Tuesday.

The office of the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska announced that the case against the Rev. Gerald Ornowski was dropped May 24 after the female plaintiff withdrew her claims.

The woman had claimed Ornowski abused her as a young girl in the early 1990s when he was pastor in Stebbins. Ornowski, who denied the allegations, was put on administrative leave from his duties at the University of Alaska Fairbanks parish.

The woman's lawyer, Ken Roosa, said she decided to drop the lawsuit because Ornowski is elderly, and she has decided to move on with her life.

Ornowski's religious order, the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception of Stockbridge, Mass., also was a defendant. The Fairbanks diocese was not named.

Ornowski's future ministry has not been fully determined, officials said.

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