Racism in the Diocese of Fairbanks: If I didn’t see it, then it didn’t happen

How did the Diocese of Fairbanks let child rape thrive?  The answer is simple: the racist, molesting priests.

I found a cherry clip illustrating the whole process in a few simple words.

About the clip:

Fr. Henry Hargreaves, SJ, spent most of his 50-year career as a priest in Alaska Native villages in the Diocese of Fairbanks. According to the Alaskana Catholica, he supervised many of the perpetrators who were stationed across the tundra. I use the term “supervised” loosely – he has also been accused of sexual abuse by at least two children and an adult woman.

In a taped 2004 deposition, Hargreaves was asked about the 1960 letter about Poole (Click here to read).  The letter (in Latin, of course) discussed how Poole kept Alaska Native girls in his room late at night, kept them in the confessional for a half hour at a time, and visited the girls dorms and bedrooms at night.

If I had received the letter, I would have been alarmed.  Wouldn’t you?  Well, this is what Hargreaves had to say:  Click here to watch the video.

His response?  It’s all hearsay.  If no one saw it first hand, then it was nothing more than gossip.  He even suggested putting children under oath.  You know, the rape victims … because 9-year-old Alaska Native girls living in dormitories, separated from their parents, robbed of their culture, and told that the priest was God on earth are far more inclined to stop gossiping if they are put under oath.

The girls and their parents were less than human, so they were not to be believed.  And if they spoke out?  Well, then their pain is only worth a fraction of the pain of white children.  $5500 to be exact.

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Racism in Fairbanks: “The Pedophiles’ Paradise”

Videos and Letters Expose the Bishop of Fairbanks’ Dirty Fingerprints. He knew kids were being raped and he covered it up.

Or: Father Jim Poole, The Great Lover of the World (his words, not mine)

There’s more to the story of Fr. Jim Poole, SJ, subject of my last post.

Seattle’s weekly paper, The Stranger (click here to read), wrote a gripping story about Rachel Mike and other victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Fairbanks. The story outlines how dozens of child rapists were sent to Fairbanks to “Get them off the grid” and fill jobs where these men could rape hundreds of Alaska Native kids.

Rachel Mike was one of the kids.

Born in St. Michael (click to read William Lobdell’s LA Times story about the village), Rachel, a Yup’ik Eskimo, grew up in abject poverty with alcoholic parents.  She often suffered from the effects of starvation. By fifteen, she had tried to kill herself three times. Poole sank his claws into her after her second attempt. She was 14.

He started raping her.  Soon, she had gonorrhea and was pregnant.

What did Poole do when he discovered that she was carrying his child?  He had a plan: he told the starving child to say that her father raped her.  So she did.

Her father went to jail.  He died before she was able to tell him the truth.  When Rachel came forward in 2004 to name Poole as her abuser, the Diocese of Fairbanks tried to get the case thrown out on the statute of limitations – they weren’t saying that she was lying, they said that she came forward too late.

There was too much proof that Poole was a monster for them to deny Rachel’s story.

The Proof:

— Poole had already been sent to a “Perp Camp” in New Mexico.  We have the video of him talking about it – and he tells us that he was “the great lover of the world” (click here to watch).

— Around the same time in 1986, another victim was coming forward to complain about Poole. What did Fairbanks Bishop Kaniecki say? “Tried to cover all based, yet not admit anything … Nip this mess in the bud.” (Click here to read)

— In 1998, Fairbanks Bishop Kaniecki was actively working to erase the memory of Jim Poole by making sure that old KNOM tapes of Poole (used for fundraising) were never played.  He was afraid that Poole’s white victims would hear the tapes and come forward and report.  According to Kaneicki, white victims coming forward would be “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and they would see lawsuits and scandal. (Click here to read).  (The letter also throws Seattle University President Fr. Steven Sundborg SJ under the bus)


— We have proof that Poole and dozens of other men molested Alaska Native kids,

— We have proof that the Diocese of Fairbanks knew about it,

— We have proof the Diocese of Fairbanks dumped perps in the Alaska Native Villages,

— We have proof that the Diocese of Fairbanks tried to cover it up,

— We have proof that the Diocese of Fairbanks lied about abuse to victims when they came forward, and

— We have proof that the Diocese of Fairbanks is racist …

So, what is the Diocese going to do about it?  They seem to think that offering $5500 to victims will take care of it.

I don’t agree.

Published in: on November 12, 2009 at 4:10 pm  Comments (6)  

A Lesson To The Diocese Of Fairbanks: It Doesn’t Pay To Be Racist And Then Lie About It

The Story Of Fr. James E. Poole, Birds, Dogs, And A Whole Bunch Of Lying Diocese Of Fairbanks Officials

Fr. James E. Poole, SJ, did many, many things while he was a priest. So many things, that even the Alaskana Catholica raves about the molesting priest. Click here to read the entry about Poole.

He helped found the village of St. Mary’s, ran the Diocese of Fairbanks radio station KNOM, worked in the boarding schools, and molested girls.  A lot of girls.

But in 2005, when Elsie Boudreau came forward and named Poole as her abuser, the Diocese of Fairbanks and the Jesuits lied about it.  Over and over and over again.

Fr. Richard Case, SJ, Chancellor for the Fairbanks Diocese, said that he “searched the files and found nothing” about Poole.  Click here to read it for yourself.

Then, the Diocese of Fairbanks and Jesuit officials said they never got complaints from the nuns.  Click here to read that story.

Then, the Provincial for the Jesuits, Fr. John Whitney, SJ said that they never heard about Poole’s abusive behavior, but once they did, they removed him from ministry. Click here to read that.

They lied.  All of them.  The Diocese Fairbanks lied, the Jesuits lied and now, the Diocese of Fairbanks keeps up the facade.

Here’s the proof:

– A 1960 letter to Rome from Jesuit Vicar General Fr. John Swain saying that Poole was keeping Alaska Native girls in his room late at night, visiting the girls’ dormitories late at night, and keeping girls in the confessional for 30 minutes at a time. A copy was sent to the Bishop of Fairbanks, as per policy.

Click here to read in latin.  Don’t read Latin?  Click here to read the translation.

– A 1960 letter from Jesuit Fr. Segundo Llorente to Jesuit official Fr. Paul C. O’Connor about the same problem – which also says that the Bishop of Fairbanks had full knowledge.  Click here for that little missive.  A copy went to the Diocese of Fairbanks.

– A 1962 letter from molesting priest James E. Jacobson (You’ll remember him from my last post), to the Father Provincial saying that Poole was using the confessional to ask Alaska Native girls if they ever had sex with birds or dogs (or boys …). Take a deep breath and click here to read it.

I have many more documents – spanning well into the 1980s, but decided to go with the earliest to show how long Diocese Officials knew Poole was a perp.

But they kept him in ministry and lied about it – for 50 years.


It’s the same reason that they are offering victims $5500 – because the Diocese of Fairbanks thinks that Alaska Natives are too simple and uneducated to see through their lies  … and that the pain of Yup’ik children is not as important as the pain of white children.

Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 12:03 am  Comments (4)  

Racism in the Diocese of Fairbanks, Part V: The Yup’iks Aren’t Smart Enough to Know They Are Being Abused

Squirm alert: this one is going to make your blood boil.

Fr. James E. Jacobson was a naughty, naughty priest. He spent 13 years – from 1963 to 1976 – working in Alaska’s Yup’ik villages. And while he was there, he liked to rape the girls. At least three of these women have now come forward, two of whom have hard evidence (and a positive DNA test): the children that Jacobson fathered.

Their civil suits unearthed a letter that shows how pervasive racism was in the diocese.

It tells how back in 1967, allegations against Jacobson were coming from the villages. Finally, because they were considered “serious moral charges,” the Bishop of Fairbanks launched an investigation – a year after the birth of Jacobson’s first child. The investigation concluded that the locals were prone to “personal grudges and politics” and that they “were not advanced enough to give impartial and true testimony.”

In the eyes of the Bishop of Fairbanks, the Yup’iks were not smart enough or advanced enough to know that they were being molested. No matter what they said or what they could prove, the Diocese saw them as little more than animals.

All of the juicy details are included (click HERE) in the missive from Fr. Jules Convert, SJ (oh yeah, he’s a perp, too – with more than 18 victims) to the Jesuit Provincial in Portland.

The women and the children sued the Jesuits and the Diocese of Fairbanks in 2005 for support. What did the Diocese of Fairbanks think that these women deserved for caring for children fathered by the sexual assault of one of their priests?  You got it: $5,500.

Because apparently, the Diocese still sees them as less than human.

Published in: on November 8, 2009 at 8:45 pm  Comments (3)  

Is The Diocese of Fairbanks Racist? Part IV – A Little Bit of History

The conquest of Alaska by Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Missionaries is not a good saga for Alaska Natives.  Since the first Russians landed in the area, Native peoples have been enslaved, raped, killed, and stripped of almost their entire cultural heritage.

Unfortunately, things have changed very little in the Diocese of Fairbanks.

Let’s have a little history lesson.

Alaskana Catholica, a hulking book by Louis Renner, is considered by many to be the “definitive book” on the Catholics in Alaska.  In fact, it is even for sale in the Diocese of Fairbanks online store. Written in the style of an encyclopedia, the book is considered the crown jewel of the Diocese of Fairbanks and the Northwest Jesuits.

… And it has some doozy quotes that show how much those priests hated the locals.

Are the quotes below evidence that the Diocese of Fairbanks is racist now? No, not exactly. What they do show is that the “business as usual” policies of the Diocese (and the Jesuits who were assigned there) reflected the notion that they all believed that the Alaska Natives were less than human.

Offering the victims $5500 is just another manifestation of that policy.

Here are some quotes:

From pages 364 and 365 – from the entry on about the Village of Kotzebue

House diary entries made by different priests create a rather interesting chiaroscuro mosaic: “The village is the most rotten I know in Alaska…our little flock are in the main faithful…this pagan town…there is much good will on the part of the whites…Sometimes I think we made a big mistake in coming here…very good attendance…Kotzebue has been a sort of a trial…church packed.”

It goes on – this little gem is written by well-known perpetrator Segundo Llorente, who has been accused of molesting at least 10 children (I added the bold):

Summarizing his 3 yr. tenure in Kotzebue, Fr. Llorente wrote: “After three years of failure, I leave Kotzebue.  Three things kept me from going insane: the tabernacle, the typewriter, and the catechism children.  Thanks to these three I live happy and busy.  The town is such as to freeze the ardor of St. Paul.”  His final entry in the diary reads: “The priest who keeps his smile in this town and goes on with zeal and courage deserves to be canonized at once without any other miracles bearing evidence on the matter.”

Hmmm … so molesting “heathen” boys is a part of the sainthood fast track?

Here’s another good one – from a letter by Fr. Loysius J. Bobaut to his Jesuit provincial.  A copy was sent to the Bishop of Fairbanks:

“In my judgment nothing, or rather nothing good, has been accomplished here in the spiritual line except baptizing the people, whilst the damage done to the Indians [sic] in the same spiritual line is very great.  They are now so indifferent, careless and also averse to religion, that, without a miracle, or a very saintly missionary, I see no chance whatever of ever succeeding to make good, practical Christians out of these people around us.” …the people “are all plunged into superstitions from the sole of their feet even to the top of their head.  It is simply impossible for the father to do anything solid, especially if you add to it the incredible difficulties, hardships, suffering and dangers, even of life, and the excessive expenses, which the winter traveling in this country is fraught with.”

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  Need more?  You can look at the book yourself in a university library – just don’t buy it.

Published in: on November 7, 2009 at 11:40 pm  Comments (3)  

Is The Diocese of Fairbanks Racist? Part III: The Video

Grab your popcorn!  We now have the video deposition of Fr. William “Lom” Loyens.  You remember him:  He is the well-known Jesuit anthropologist – and a priest who worked closely with the Bishop of Fairbanks – who said that Alaska Natives were “fairly loose on sexual matters.”

We got the 2004 deposition video – click here.  Be prepared – Loyens is a major creep.

With guys like this consulting Kettler and creating the entire pastoral attitude, it’s no wonder that Fairbanks would offer Alaska Natives a fraction of what white victims received.

Coming up next: The definitive book of the Catholic church in Alaska says that Fairbanks has always hated the locals … and a juicy little letter that shows exactly how and why the Bishop of Fairbanks let molesters run free in Alaska Native villages

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is the Diocese of Fairbanks Racist? Part II

(or, Kettler may not be racist, but you can only live in our villages if you are a “good” Eskimo, and even if you are, we aren’t giving your parishes any cash.)

We have already discussed how high-ranking priests in the Diocese of Fairbanks called Alaska Natives “fairly loose” on sexual matters.

As if that were not bad enough …

We have two new stories – The Village of St. Mary’s and the highly questionable (and possibly illegal) Diocese of Fairbanks Endowment

Let’s start with St. Mary’s:

Before 1967, the Alaska Native village of St. Mary’s was the Village of Andreafsky – populated by proud, smart and resourceful Yup’ik people who had lived in the area for centuries (and survived Russian occupation and enslavement, but that’s another story).  That is, until the Diocese of Fairbanks decided that they didn’t like Andreafsky anymore.

So, they allowed Fr. Jim Poole, who was already known to be a child molester, to start a new village.  The new village would have everything that Andrefsky didn’t: running water, sewage, electricity, and a school that went to the 12th grade.  The only problem was that the diocese didn’t want everyone to be able to live there, especially Native people they didn’t like.

Fr. Poole set up a test.  Nice Yup’ik families who didn’t drink, had jobs and who agreed to send their children to the new school (or who had children who were being molested or who had the potential of being molested by Poole) passed.  “Naughty” Yup’ik families who refused to send their kids to the school, knew about Poole’s abuse, or had a history of alcoholism?  Sorry.  They had to stay in squalor … right across the street.  No flushing toilets for them.

Historical reports claim that some residents refused to move.  The truth is, they had no choice.  We’ll post the letters that prove it soon.

In the meantime, let’s talk about the Fairbanks Endowment.

The Diocese of Fairbanks has a $15 million (and growing) endowment that they claim is for their poor, understaffed and dilapidated parishes.  People across the country who donate to this restricted fund are told that it is for operational support, building projects, ministry support and educational projects at their parishes.

The endowment is run by George Bowder – a long-time Fairbanks Diocese employee and deacon. According to him, this money is desperately needed by the parishes who are suffering because of the bankruptcy and the greed of those “naughty and greedy Alaska Native victims” (okay, he didn’t exactly say that, but the implication is there).

The problem? Parishes report that they haven’t gotten a dime.  Apparently, Bowder doesn’t think that the Native Corporations and Yup’ik individuals at the parishes are smart enough to handle the money.  Ouch.

Don’t believe me?  Ask the parishes yourself.  I think that the IRS will be pretty interested to know, too.  If you hear different and can prove it, let me know. I’ll be happy to retract.

It’s not looking so good for Kettler.  The more and more I say that he may not be a racist, the more and more I begin to wonder.

Up next:  Bowder’s Vatican report, or “Since the media likes us, we think that the hundreds of sex abuse victims in the Fairbanks Diocese will just faaaaade away.”

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 4:14 am  Comments (6)  

Is the Diocese of Fairbanks Racist? (or … Kettler doesn’t hate Eskimos, he just thinks they don’t deserve as much as white victims) Part One

We’ll start with the numbers:

No other diocese has a victim pool that is almost 100% Alaska Native/Native American.


Read The Sign: Please Don't Speak Eskimo

Read The Sign: Please Do Not Speak Eskimo ~ From an Alaska Native Boarding School in the Fairbanks Diocese

Here is the average compensation for mostly white sex abuse victims in the other dioceses that chose to file for bankruptcy protection:

Archdiocese of Portland: $400,000

Diocese of Spokane: $400,000

Diocese of Tucson: $500,000

Diocese of San Diego: $1.4 million

Diocese of Davenport: $230,000

And finally – drumroll, please – Diocese of Fairbanks: $5,500

Is Fairbanks saying that because the victims are Alaska Natives – many living in remote areas and third-world conditions with little to no access to services – that they don’t deserve as much as “white” victims do?

If they have another explanation, we’d like to hear it.

Coming up: Is the Diocese of Fairbanks Racist? Part Two: Letters, Books, Depos and Documents Don’t Lie

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 6:21 am  Comments (3)  

Kettler’s Offer: An Apology, Pennies, And A Promise That Victims Won’t Go To Hell (Let’s Just Keep The Slush Fund A Secret, Okay?)

As Christ’s steward for nearly $23 million in assets, including a $15 million “endowment” slush fundBishop Donald Kettler faces a pivotal choice in the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks bankruptcy:

He can feed the weakest, poorest and most injured of Christ’s flock in Alaska, or he can feed himself.  Apparently, Kettler didn’t look to the Bible for guidance on this one.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” (Jesus) said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

John 21:15-17

As the steward of Northern Alaska, one would think Kettler could offer something more than table scraps to the flock he purports to serve.  Alas, the Bishop’s latest bankruptcy plan – described by victims as a “Second Rape” – guarantees a mere $5,500.00 to abuse survivors. Meanwhile, Kettler’s slush fund continues to grow at about $100,000 per month.

Don’t worry, Kettler says – he’ll throw victims another scrap:  The good shepherd will also read a statement of apology from the pulpit of each parish where children were abused, and will “assure survivors and parishioners that they will not go to hell as a result of coming forward regarding the abuse they suffered.”

That’s it ladies and gentlemen of the flock: $5,500, an apology, and Kettler’s assurance that survivors won’t go to hell.

Given their treatment under the Bishop’s plan, survivors are probably not the ones who need to be worried about eternal damnation.

** New note – I have received requests about the source for Kettler’s promise that victims won’t go to hell.  It’s a direct quote from the bishop’s bankruptcy plan – Section
17.12(c), page 53 of 82.

Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 9:41 pm  Comments (6)  

“If anyone knows about child rape, it’s the Diocese of Fairbanks”

The Diocese of Fairbanks is doing its best to convince the world that offering $5,500 to victims of child rape is fair.  In press reports, they even had the nerve to say that victims were being insensitive by calling the offer a “second rape.”

Victims are insensitive?  Really?  Living with the effects of abuse their whole lives, shunned by the church, suffering in shame and silence, losing sleep, grappling with thoughts of suicide, while Bishop Kettler shakes a finger at them and tells them to go away?

Kettler and his officials are the definition of insensitive.

Four victims got together yesterday for a press conference to tell their stories.  They told stories of rape, abuse, loss, pain and shame:

“I didn’t want to live anymore.”

“I couldn’t believe in God.”

“I just want everyone to see what happened.”

It’s not about the money, they said, it’s about the Diocese taking responsibility for knowingly allowing men to sodomize innocent kids.

Diocese officials are getting off scott-free, they said, paying more to lawyers than to the people the Diocese hurt.  So yes, it is like a second rape.

And to steal words from attorney Ken Roosa:

If anyone knows about child rape, it’s the Diocese of Fairbanks.

Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 3:52 pm  Comments (9)