Great Falls

Feb 8, 2012 11:36 AM by David Sherman (Great Falls)

Sex abuse lawsuit filed against Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings

A civil lawsuit on behalf of 10 alleged child sex abuse victims has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings.

One man says that a priest who currently advises diocese Bishop Michael Warfel on handling sex abuse cases is himself a sex predator.

The locations of the alleged abuse include Great Falls, Absarokee, Hays, and Hardin; the lawsuit claims that the abuse occurred in the 1970s and 1980s.

Tim Kosnoff, attorney for the plaintiffs, said that the victims are seeking "non-monetary reform and healing measures," including asking the court to order the bishop to personally visit schools and churches where the alleged abuse occurred, posting the names of the alleged abusers on the diocese web site for 10 years, and the creation of a toll-free phone and website where anonymous complaints can be made.

The lawsuit was filed by the same legal team that now represents more than 160 abuse survivors suing the Diocese of Helena.

A press conference is being held this morning in Great Falls; reporter Erin Schermele will be at the event and we will update you as we learn more.