Arrow-right Camera

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.

  • Stories
  • Blog Posts
  • Documents


  • Mon., Jan. 4, 2010, 11:30 a.m.

    Start of boys ranch abuse trial delayed

    The trial in the first of numerous lawsuits alleging abuse of a former resident of Morning Star Boys’ Ranch was delayed today while the Spokane County Superior Court judge assigned …

  • Sun., Jan. 3, 2010

    Trial is years in the making

    Few court cases have so challenged the Spokane community’s faith in a revered institution as the Morning Star Boys’ Ranch lawsuits, the first of which goes to trial this week. …

  • Thu., Dec. 10, 2009

    Sports complex decision expected by month’s end

    Baseball may be America’s pastime, but contentious debate could be a close second. Supporters and opponents of a south Spokane sports complex filled the assembly room in the Spokane County …

  • Wed., Nov. 25, 2009, 5:26 p.m.

    Lawsuit filed over boys ranch’s asset transfer

    Attorneys for 15 former residents of Morning Star Boys’ Ranch who claim to have been sexually abused while at the south Spokane facility filed a separate lawsuit on Wednesday over …

  • Thu., Nov. 19, 2009

    Boys ranch moves assets before abuse trials’ start

    Morning Star Boys’ Ranch has moved the bulk of its assets, including securities and real estate worth millions of dollars, to a nonprofit foundation in advance of the first trial …

  • Wed., June 3, 2009

    Judge splits up Morning Star lawsuits

    Morning Star Boys’ Ranch may have to defend itself in 18 separate physical- and sex-abuse trials next year after a judge split lawsuits into individual cases. The ranch wanted the …

  • Tue., May 26, 2009

    Ranch accused of abuse

    Fifteen-year-old Timothy Donald Everts swore he would never go back to Morning Star Boys’ Ranch. He alleged that he was physically and sexually abused in the months he spent at …

  • Wed., July 30, 2008

    Morning Star ranch hit with new lawsuit

    Another man sued Morning Star Boys’ Ranch in Spokane on Friday, alleging he was physically, sexually and psychologically abused during the two years he lived at the home for troubled …

  • Sat., Feb. 16, 2008

    More file suit against Morning Star

    Three more men sued Morning Star Boys’ Ranch on Friday, including two men who say the ranch’s former director sexually abused them in the 1960s and 1980s. The third man …

  • Fri., Oct. 12, 2007

    Morning Star must release files

    The Washington Supreme Court has declined to review a lower court’s decision that Morning Star Boys’ Ranch must release more than 1,000 personal files to attorneys for seven men who …

  • Tue., June 5, 2007

    Four more men allege abuse at boys’ ranch

    Four more men sued Morning Star Boys’ Ranch on Monday, including two men who allege that the ranch’s revered director sexually abused them in the 1970s and ‘80s. Two of …

  • Sat., May 5, 2007

    Morning Star told to release boys’ records

    A Spokane County Superior Court judge has ordered Morning Star Boys’ Ranch to release more than 1,000 personal files of former residents to attorneys who represent seven men who say …

  • Sun., Sept. 17, 2006

    The damage done

    In 1976, a teenager named Michael Phillip Smith lived in the home of a convicted child molester. The arrangement had the blessing of two juvenile probation officers and a judge, …

  • Sat., Sept. 16, 2006

    Files gone, histories erased

    It’s an open secret. Each year the state’s Department of Social and Health Services destroys thousands of private records about the children once in its care. Preserving the voluminous files …

  • Fri., April 21, 2006

    Director retires from boys’ ranch

    The Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner, the longtime director of Morning Star Boys’ Ranch who found himself the subject of allegations of physical and sexual abuse last year, announced his retirement from …

  • Tue., March 14, 2006

    Two allege abuse at boys ranch

    Two men have sued Morning Star Boys’ Ranch for alleged physical abuse at the group home in the 1970s, according to documents filed in Spokane County Superior Court. The men, …

  • Sat., Dec. 24, 2005

    Six more men join Morning Star suit

    Six more men sued Morning Star Boys’ Ranch on Friday, including two who accuse the ranch’s longtime director of sexual abuse. The two men allege in documents filed in Spokane …

  • Thu., Oct. 27, 2005

    1960s records show Weitensteiner worked wonders

    The Catholic priest who was founding director of Morning Star Boys’ Ranch apparently was forced out of his position in the 1960s after Spokane County’s health department objected to conditions …

  • Sun., Oct. 16, 2005

    871 pages detail accusations

    Hundreds of pages of state documents detail multiple allegations of sexual abuse of boys at Morning Star Boys’ Ranch in the past quarter-century and indicate that the assaults have continued …

  • Sat., Oct. 15, 2005

    Morning Star spokeswoman quits

    The spokeswoman for Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, who became the public face of the Spokane boys’ home during a turbulent summer, resigned this week. In a letter to Morning Star …