Suit against Wash. state alleges abuse at school

November 22, 2011 - 4:25 PM

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Eight Native Americans have filed suit against the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, claiming the agency placed them in a mission school where they were sexually abused by a Jesuit priest decades ago.

Attorney Blaine Tamaki said Tuesday the plaintiffs were wards of the state when it failed to ensure their safety.

The complaint centers on allegations against the Rev. John Morse at St. Mary's Mission School in Omak. Morse has denied the allegations. Tamaki says Morse was never charged with a crime.

John Wiley, spokesman for the health services department, says his agency hasn't seen the lawsuit yet.

In March, the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus agreed to pay $166 million to hundreds of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives who were abused at its schools in the Pacific Northwest.