US Jesuit chapter pays abuse compensation

Alaska - pic ICN

Alaska - pic ICN

A Jesuit chapter in the US has agreed to pay £103.3 million to hundreds  of  Native Americans, to compensate for physical and psychological abuse by priests in five states dating back from the 1940s -1990s. It is also issuing a written apology to the victims.

The US north-west chapter of the Society of Jesus agreed to the payout, which lawyers said is the biggest by a religious organisation in the US, as part of bankruptcy proceedings.

Most of the victims were at mission schools on Indian reservations in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana.

Clarita Vargas, who said she and two sisters were abused by a priest at a school for Native American children in Washington State, said: "I feel that nothing can compensate for the loss of being whole and being allowed to be a child and growing up in a healthy environment. But this will start us and continue to help us on our path to healing."

Some of the accused priests have died. The surviving ones now in their 80s, live in Jesuit accomodation under strict supervision.