Seattle archdiocese removed from lawsuit

The Archdiocese of Seattle is no longer a defendant in a lawsuit filed by an Idaho man, who accused defrocked priest John Cornelius of molesting him years ago, reported the KOMO News Service.

Judge Paris Kallas said Feb. 11 that the archdiocese and the Sulpicians, the order that ran St. Thomas Seminary, should not be part of Timothy McKenna's suit.

McKenna said Cornelius molested him from 1969 to 1975, when Cornelius was a student at Mount Angel Seminary near Portland, Ore., then later when he was a seminarian at St. Thomas Seminary in Kenmore, and later as a priest in the archdiocese. The abuse began when McKenna was about 10 years old. 

The archdiocese argued that it should be removed from the case because the abuse had occurred over a period of many years and not in the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Brad Moore, McKenna's attorney, told KOMO that the judge’s decision was based on the fact that McKenna was not in the protective custody of the church at the time of the abuse. The judge also said the abuse would have happened whether or not the church made Cornelius a priest since Cornelius was a family friend.

Moore said he planned to file an appeal. He and McKenna are still deciding whether to proceed with the suit.

Seattle Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni said: "We regret any harm to Mr. McKenna or any victim of clergy abuse. ... We take our responsibility to reach out to victims pastorally very seriously."

Cornelius was permanently dismissed from the priesthood in September.

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