Diocese of Yakima Responds to Lawsuits through Attorney - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Diocese of Yakima Responds to Lawsuits through Attorney

YAKIMA, Wa -  The Catholic Diocese of Yakima responds to two sex abuse lawsuits in a statement through its attorney.

Two weeks ago, two women came forward alleging sexual abuse by a now-deceased priest. They filed two separate lawsuits against the Diocese -- alleging sexual abuse by Michael J. Simpson when he worked at the St. Aloysius Church in Toppenish over 40 years ago. This is the third sex abuse lawsuit filed against the Diocese involving this priest. 

Here's is the full statement sent to KNDO this morning by the attorney representing the Diocese of Yakima, Thomas Frey:

"The Diocese of Yakima has now had the opportunity to review the two claims that were recently filed against it. First and foremost the Bishop wishes express his concern and empathy for all victims of abuse and these two individuals in particular. In this regard he has conveyed, through counsel, his willingness to meet with each of these individuals in a private setting as they have requested. It is hoped that this may assist them in beginning the healing process.

In so far as the claims themselves are concerned, the Diocese had no prior knowledge of any complaints of sexual misconduct by the accused, and now deceased priest. In fact the first time church officials became aware of any such alleged improper conduct was the filing of the first claim by Ms Rose Lamey, the sister of one the new claimants in December of 2004.

The Diocese through its counsel will be filing its answer to the claim in due course and looks forward to a fair and just resolution of the matter for all of the parties."