Member of Church Mentioned in Sex Abuse Lawsuit has Mixed Feelings - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Member of Church Mentioned in Sex Abuse Lawsuit has Mixed Feelings

YAKIMA, Wa -  Two women filed lawsuits on Tuesday alleging a now deceased priest sexually abused them over forty years ago.  The alleged abuse happened at the St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Toppenish and it's still around today.

One long time member says the lawsuit has been a surprise and many at the church are reacting with mixed feelings.

Vince Rickert has been a member at St. Aloysius Catcholic Church for 62-years.  He was raised in a house just a few block away and it's where he lives now with his family.

"After 40-years, let the dead rest in peace. What good is it going to." Rickert says.

He remembers the priest named in the lawsuit - Michael J. Simpson, but not well.  Rickert grew up in the church and never felt threatened by any priests. "I was an alter boy.  I served with so many priests in the Diocese.  I never saw anything, but that doesn't mean things don't happen."

Rickert says he believes priests should be treated like everyone else when they do something wrong.  "It does surprise me, but priests are human and we all sin," Rickert says.  He says many members at his church don't see what filing a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse over 40-years ago will accomplish. "I feel so much of it is money behind everything else. people realize they can get easy money from the church,"  Rickert says

He takes his family to mass every Sunday and they also try to go during the week.  He sas this lawsuit won't change a thing.

"My faith hasn't changed any.  In fact, it's stronger today than it was."

One of the women filing the lawsuit - Fran Cuhtahlatah - came forward and talked with KNDO yesterday afternoon.  She says money has nothing to do with it and she just wants the catholic church to acknowledge wrong doing.

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