PRIESTS: Alaska Native abuse settlement said to be $50 million.
Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa said the settlement is the largest against a single religious order since stories of clerical abuse began to emerge around the country several years ago.
Jesuit officials have denied transferring molesting priests to Alaska, saying that it was a prestigious assignment for the most courageous and faithful. In Jesuit fundraising literature, Eskimo villages were called "the world's most difficult mission field."
Many plaintiffs said their once devoutly Catholic villages--cut off from the world and without law enforcement--offered a perfect setting for a molesting priest. In 2005, The Times published a story about Joseph Lundowski, a Jesuit deacon who allegedly sexually abused nearly every boy in two small villages on St. Michael Island between 1968 and 1975.
Lundowski's accusers--now in their 40s and 50s--said the abuse led to alcoholism, violence, emotional problems and suicide attempts. They kept their secret--not even talking about it among themselves--until the Catholic Church sex scandal erupted in 2002.