Fairbanks diocese settles sex abuse case

Posted: Friday, September 26, 2003

ANCHORAGE - The Diocese of Fairbanks has reached a settlement with one of six plaintiffs in a sexual abuse lawsuit.

The plaintiff, identified as John Doe, accepted an offer of $30,000 and attorney fees to end his case involving the Rev. Jules Convert, who has since died.

The settlement comes three months after the plaintiff and three others - also identified as John Doe - sued the diocese and the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province. Two other plaintiffs joined the lawsuit in July.

The diocese made the $30,000 offer with the caveat that "this is an offer of compromise only and is not to be construed as an admission," diocese attorney Robert Groseclose wrote in the offer. The document was filed in Bethel Superior Court on Monday.

The Rev. Richard Case, chancellor for the Fairbanks diocese, said the diocese did not make a formal admission of fault and that the offer was a way to resolve the litigation.

"Quite frankly, we don't know if it is true or if it is not true," he told the Anchorage Daily News.

Five plaintiffs say they were molested when they were altar boys at the Church of the Nativity in St. Marys, a Yukon River village. John Doe 6 says he was abused as an altar boy at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Kaltag, another Yukon River village.

The men claimed in the lawsuit that Convert invited them to spend the night with him and he fondled them during visits. The men, who ranged in age from 6 to 13 at the time of the alleged abuse, accused the diocese and the Oregon Province of moving Convert around to hide his abuse.

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