Lawsuit alleges abuse by priest

A Bellingham man has filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle for allegedly allowing a Roman Catholic priest assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish in Everett to sexually abuse him over 11 years starting in 1956.

The man, now 63, was identified only as M.P. in the lawsuit filed Monday in Snohomish County Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges that the archdiocese knew or should have known that the Rev. Edward Boyle was a pedophile, and it failed to supervise the priest.

The archdiocese Tuesday had no comment on the lawsuit.

Spokesman Greg Magnoni said he was unaware of this particular allegation until now. “I do know there have been allegations against (Boyle) in the past,” he added

Boyle died in 1987, Magnoni said.

Although the alleged events happened nearly half a century ago, Seattle lawyer Mary Fleck said “it’s going to be easy to prove, because my client has very vivid memories of everything that happened to him.”

Sometimes, it takes people many years to have the courage to come forward in cases like this, Fleck said.

She said M.P. has suffered serious psychological effects as a result of his contact with Boyle, and he’s only recently began to realize the origin of his problems.

According to the lawsuit, M.P. was born in Everett and first met Boyle in the mid-1950s when the priest was assigned to Immaculate Conception. At the time, M.P. was an altar boy who attended the parish school.

In about 1956, when the boy was 14, Boyle “sexually molested M.P. on repeated occasions in the rectory, during a trip to Seaside, Ore., and at the home of Boyle’s parents,” the lawsuit charges.

The abuses continued periodically over 11 years, it contends.

It alleges that Boyle groomed the youth by gaining his trust, friendship and admiration.

The “plaintiff was conditioned to comply with Father Boyle’s direction and to view and respect him as a person of authority in spiritual, moral and ethical matters,” the lawsuit says.

The complaint alleges that the archdiocese failed to “adopt policies and procedures to identify potential and actual sexual offenders, prevent their access to child and/or remove them from the priesthood and assist sex abuse victims.”

It also charges that the archdiocese didn’t properly investigate Boyle’s background to determine if he was suitable to be placed in a position of trust among children and families.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Fleck said she believes this is the first lawsuit filed in connection with Boyle’s alleged abuse. Boyle was for a time assigned in Arlington as well as Everett, she said.

“We are hopeful other people will come forward, because we believe there are other victims who also may be suffering injuries as a result” of Boyle, Fleck said.

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or

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