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Morning Star Boys’ Ranch

Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, a Spokane boys’ home, is an institution beloved by many. Others, however, say the ranch was a place where they endured physical and sexual abuse. Follow the investigation here.

Abuse payments sap diocese fund, putting churches at risk

The Catholic Diocese of Spokane is broaching a consequence of its bankruptcy once thought unthinkable – the sale of churches to pay victims of clergy sex abuse. New claims of abuse that occurred decades ago continue to be filed, approved and paid, draining a special $1 million fund that now needs replenishing as part of the legal settlement the diocese signed to end its bankruptcy.

Rulings upheld in boys ranch case

A state appeals court panel has declined to review a judge’s decision to limit the number of witnesses who may testify in the second child sex abuse lawsuit against Morning Star Boys’ Ranch. George H. Minehart II has sued Morning Star, claiming to have been abused by the ranch’s former director, the Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner, and other staff members while a resident of the ranch in 1980 and 1981.

Former resident sues Morning Star

An Alaska man is suing Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, claiming that he was sexually abused nearly 30 years ago by the ranch’s former director, as well as by other residents. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Spokane, names the ranch and its former director, the Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner, as well as the Morning Star Boys’ Ranch Foundation, to which the ranch has transferred the bulk of its assets. It’s the first such case to be filed in federal court.

Morning Star suit awaiting ruling

A lawsuit against Morning Star Boys’ Ranch by a former resident who claims to have been abused there has been stayed by the state Court of Appeals while that court hears a motion to review a ruling limiting testimony in the trial. Attorneys for George H. Minehart II, a former resident of the ranch, appealed Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor’s decision to limit the testimony of other former residents, most of whom have filed their own cases against Morning Star.

Court delays Morning Star trial pending review

A lawsuit against Morning Star Boys’ Ranch by a former resident who claims to have been abused there has been stayed by the state Court of Appeals while that court hears a motion to review a ruling limiting testimony in the trial.

Boys ranch trial delayed one week

A Spokane County Superior Court judge agreed on Thursday to delay trial of the second child sex abuse lawsuit against Morning Star Boys’ Ranch for one week while the state Court of Appeals for Division III decides whether to review her decision to limit the testimony of former residents who claim to have been abused.

Appeal in Morning Star case targets witness ruling

With jury selection set to begin Monday in the second Morning Star Boys’ Ranch sex abuse lawsuit, attorneys for a former ranch resident are seeking to delay the trial while they appeal a Spokane County Superior Court judge’s decision limiting the testimony of other alleged victims. Attorneys for plaintiff George H. Minehart II are asking the state Court of Appeals for Division III to review Judge Kathleen O’Connor’s ruling last week that only former ranch residents who reported abuse at the time of the alleged incidents can testify.

Spokane diocese paid boys ranch accusers

Although a jury last month rejected Kenneth Putnam’s sex abuse allegations against Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, the Catholic Diocese of Spokane had already paid Putnam a settlement worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The award to Putnam is among 10 such settlements totaling more than $3 million – ranging from $100,000 to $750,000 – that have been paid through the diocese bankruptcy to men who continue to press lawsuits against Morning Star, its former director the Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner, and other priests and employees associated with the home for troubled boys.

Jury clears Morning Star in first sex abuse lawsuit

A unanimous jury ruled against plaintiff Kenneth Putnam on Friday, handing victory to Morning Star Boys’ Ranch in the first of 19 sex abuse lawsuits to go to trial. Putnam, who was a resident at the group home for troubled boys in 1988 and ’89, claimed the ranch’s former director, the Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner, and now-deceased counselor Doyle Gillum molested him.

Jury decides in favor of Morning Star

A jury today found against plaintiff Kenneth Putnam in the first of 19 lawsuits against Morning Star Boys’ Ranch scheduled for trial in Spokane County Superior Court.