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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Former ranch director denies abuse allegations

The Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner said Thursday that he would sometimes get angry during his 52-year career at Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, but that he “never, never” sexually abused the boys in his care. “I was a parent, and I did things that parents do,” said Morning Star’s former director, adding that included losing his temper at times.

Lawyer refutes payoff claim

A former attorney for Morning Star Boys’ Ranch rebutted the testimony of a witness who said the ranch’s former director paid him to keep quiet about alleged abuse in the late 1970s. Matthew Daley testified Tuesday that he never discussed the alleged payoff with a potential witness he interviewed in 2005 while working for Keefe, King and Bowman, a now-defunct Spokane law firm that once represented the home for troubled boys.

Testimony contests abuse claim

A former resident of Morning Star Boys’ Ranch testified Monday that Kenneth Putnam was motivated by financial gain in suing the ranch for alleged abuse. Spokane County Superior Court jurors heard from four former residents of the group home for troubled boys. All said they had never seen any inappropriate behavior by then-director the Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner or counselor Doyle Gillum, now deceased.

Boys ranch abuse trial opens

Either Morning Star Boys’ Ranch management turned a blind eye to decades of child sexual abuse or it is being persecuted by discreditable former residents looking to make a buck. Those were the strategies outlined by legal adversaries in the first of 19 lawsuits against the facility in opening remarks to jurors Tuesday in Spokane County Superior Court.