Wednesday, March 2, 2016

UPDATED::Lawsuit alleges child sexual abuse in Friends organization

UPDATE::  Northwest Yearly Meeting child sex abuse lawsuit awaits trial date
Although a trial date is not expected until this summer at the earliest, work on the child sex abuse lawsuit filed last year against Newberg Friends Church and the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends is well under way.
Attorneys for the plaintiff, referred to by his initials “A.J.” in the suit filed in Multnomah County in July, and for the five defendants are in the process of discovery.

There are no pending court dates, but Adam Kiel, an attorney with Portland firm Kafoury & McDougal representing A.J. in the case, said he expects a trial readiness conference, typically when a trial date will be set, to occur sometime in the spring.

Five of the defendants have retained counsel and filed answers to the charges, while a sixth, the Evangelical Friends Church of North America, was dismissed by Presiding Judge Nan Walker on Dec. 18.
A lawsuit filed July 17 in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges that child sexual abuse occurred in the Friends (Quaker) church in Newberg from approximately 1987 to 1991.

The plaintiff, referred to by his initials “A.J.” in the suit, claims to have been sexually abused by former Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends youth superintendent Bruce Bishop when the youth was between the ages of 11 and 16 years old.

The suit makes five legal claims, including sexual exploitation and abuse and/or battery of a child, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional infliction of distress and negligence.

The suit seeks $4 million in noneconomic damages, as well as economic damages, loss of earning capacity and legal costs. It also states the plaintiff’s intent to include a claim for punitive damages.

The suit, filed by Portland firm Kafoury & McDougal, does not expressly state where the alleged abuse took place, but names Newberg Friends Church (officially the Newberg Monthly Meeting of Friends) and its regional denomination, the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends (NWYM), among seven total defendants. The NWYM’s parent organizations, the Evangelical Friends Church – North America and the Evangelical Friends Church International Council, are also named as defendants.

In an email to the Graphic following initial publication of this story, Ankeny stated that Bishop’s ministry credential, referred to in the Friends Church as a “recording,” was suspended immediately in 2010 and that he surrendered it permanently.

The minutes from 2010 state that Bishop “immediately confirmed the allegations when confronted,” and that then NWYM superintendent Colin Saxton and staff investigated whether there might have been others, but at that time indications pointed to the “1991 relationship” being an “isolated incident.”

Information from later conferences, however, indicate that the plaintiff may not have been Bishop’s only victim.

Lawsuit alleges child sexual abuse in Friends organization

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