Archdiocese settles church sex abuse claim involving Bothell resident

A child sex abuse claim, which involved a Kirkland church, has been settled. A trial was scheduled to begin against the Seattle Archdiocese next Monday but the parish district settled for $635,000 on Thursday.

A child sex abuse claim, which involved a Kirkland church, has been settled. A trial was scheduled to begin against the Seattle Archdiocese next Monday but the parish district settled for $635,000 on Thursday.

Former youth minister Jim Funnell at St. John Vianney Church in Kirkland allegedly sexually abused the plaintiff, identified by his initials D.E., in the mid-1980s for more than one year. It is said others were abused as well.

D.E. was living in Kirkland at the time of the abuse but now resides in Bothell.

Funnell was hired, which the plaintiff claims, during the time when former Seattle Archbishop Raymond Haunthausen and other Catholic bishops were collaborating on how to address the emerging sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church.

However, the Archdiocese failed to adequately warn its employees and timely adopt the policies regarding child sex abuse, and Funnell slipped through the cracks because church officials failed to conduct a proper background check, said the victim.

“At the very time the Archdiocese was implementing its sexual abuse policy, the Archdiocese failed to protect D.E. and other boys,” said D.E.’s attorney, Michael T. Pfau. “His personnel file from Louisiana contained multiple concerns about boundary issues with children. One of them rejected him from being a campus minister because of those concerns.”

D.E. alleges Funnell started abusing him and other boys shortly after he was hired.

In late 1986, the plaintiff’s parents read an article in the Seattle Times about the warning signs of a sexual predator and brought the article to the attention of the parish pastor, who they said ignored them.

The following month, the Archdiocese held its first training in response to the June 1985 meeting of bishops, but the plaintiff alleged the pastor and the Archdiocese still did nothing to investigate Funnell.

“The Archdiocese deeply regrets any harm to the victim by this lay youth minister,” said Greg Magnoni, the spokesman for the Seattle Archdiocese. “Although the abuse occurred more than 25 years ago, we recognize the pain it caused the victim and hope it will help bring healing. That is why we work toward fair settlements in such cases.”

Funnell was later charged with multiple counts of child abuse and pled guilty to one of the charges.

Pfau says D.E. “views the settlement with satisfaction.”

According to Magnoni, Funnell is the only person from St. John Vianney that has had an allegation of this nature.

 

More in News

Kenmore City Hall - Reporter file photo
Kenmore to consider plastic bag ban

Potential ordinance would encourage use of paper, resuable bags.

Sheriffs respond to stabbing in Bothell

A Bothell man stabbed a woman after an argument on June 16.

Seattle and King County officials want a safe injection van

The mobile project—an alternative to permanent sites—still doesn’t have a defined timeline.

An autopsy found that Tommy Le was shot twice in the back during an fatal encounter with a King County sheriff’s deputy. Photo courtesy Career Link
New report calls for increased transparency from King County Sheriff’s Office

The fatal shooting of Tommy Le served as a case study for researchers.

A scene from the 2017 Women’s March Seattle. Photo by Richard Ha/Flickr
County sexual harassment policies could be overhauled

One King County councilmember says male-dominated departments have “workplace culture issues.”

Bothell plans transportation improvements

Projects include road widening and Safe Routes to School.

Western Washington could see more wildfires this year

Lots of grass and warmer weather could make for worsening fire seasons.

Authorities target violent drug traffickers in series of Puget Sound busts

More than 80 “drug dealing conspirators” have been arrested over the past four months.

Seven Puget Sound residents are suing Sound Transit for $240 million. Photo by Atomic Taco/Wikipedia Commons
Sound Transit faces $240 million class-action lawsuit

An Auburn lawmaker has organized a suit that claims the new car tab taxes are unconstitutional.

Teen suicide prevention event in Bellevue educates parents

YES hosts suicide prevention event to equip parents with tools to support teens.

‘Businesses beware’

Misleading letter calls for annual registration renewals in attempts to fraud local businesses.

Some King County elected leaders want to spend $180 million on maintenance upkeep at Safeco Field in Seattle. Photo by HyunJae Park/Flickr
King County leaders want to allocate $180 million to Safeco Field

But once councilmember thinks funding for affordable housing and the arts should come before subsidizing stadium maintenance.