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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Priest sex abuse suit filed against Gonzaga Prep

Ex-student says he was victim in 1960s

A Seattle man has sued Gonzaga Prep for failing to protect him from a Catholic priest who he says sexually abused him as a student in the 1960s.

The lawsuit filed Thursday also names the Jesuits of the Missouri Province, which employed the priest and sent him to Spokane to recruit students for a religious summer camp.

That priest, the Rev. John “Jack” Campbell, has been implicated in more than a dozen other abuse cases.

Al Falkner, president of Gonzaga Prep, said the Spokane high school should not be blamed for the actions of a Jesuit priest who was never hired by the school nor had teaching duties.

“We don’t share responsibility in this matter,” Falkner said. He noted that the accusations state the abuse of the student, identified in court records as P.V., did not happen on school grounds.

According to news accounts from nine years ago, the Missouri Jesuits had paid about $575,000 to settle multiple claims of abuse leveled against Campbell.

The Missouri Jesuits did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

The lawsuit claims that Campbell was a known pedophile at the time and that the Missouri Jesuits and Gonzaga Prep should have prevented him from having contact with children.

Campbell traveled to Spokane in 1966 to recruit Gonzaga Prep students for a summer camp known as Summer School Christian Apostolate, or SSCA, according to the lawsuit.

The alleged victim, now 63 years old, said Campbell earned their trust and bought them dinners and then supplied them with beer and whiskey in the room where he was staying on the campus of Gonzaga University. The priest also claimed to be a psychologist, and the alleged victim said he was urged by Campbell to try a form of therapy to test if he was a homosexual.

The alleged victim said he was molested and sexually assaulted in 1966 and 1967.

Campbell was removed from ministry in 1989 and lost his priestly faculties in 1993.

The alleged victim is represented by attorney Tim Kosnoff, a Seattle attorney who has been involved in hundreds of clergy sex abuse cases, including those involving the Catholic Diocese of Spokane; the Oregon Society of Jesus, which is the Jesuit order affiliated with Gonzaga University; and Morning Star Boys’ Ranch.

Falkner noted that Gonzaga Prep is affiliated with the Catholic Church but operates as an independent organization.

The school has 900 students.