Langley priest accused of molestation

Moffat - File photo
— image credit: File photo

A Langley priest on a leave of absence from his church since July became the subject of a sex crime allegation late last month.

The Rev. Gerald Moffat, pastor of St. Hubert Catholic Church, was named in a lawsuit filed with King County Superior Court Nov. 25. The suit, brought anonymously, alleges that Moffat sexually abused the plaintiff -- identified in court papers only as J.A.A. -- for two years beginning in 1972 at the Holy Family Church in Kirkland. At the start of the alleged abuse, the plaintiff was 11 years old.

Moffat is one of three priests accused of sexual abuse by six anonymous men in the King County court. Lawsuits against Moffat and the Revs. John Forrester and John Cornelius were all filed the same day. Also named in suits filed with the court is their employer, the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and Archbishop Alexander Brunette.

According to Marsha Halligan, the pastoral assistant at St. Hubert, little information about the suit has reached her or the congregation. She said Moffat is on leave within the state and is not currently working in a parish. Though officially still the pastor of St. Hubert, Moffat has been replaced at the pulpit since July by the Rev. Gergio Filigan.

Members of the congregation remain in touch with Moffat socially, Halligan said, but don't know anything about the progress of the suit or Moffat's defense.

Jackie O'Ryan, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said it is the archdiocese's policy to not comment on pending litigation. However, she did not that the archdiocese is aware of the allegation against Moffat and has placed him on leave.

In the Seattle archdiocese, O'Ryan said, a credible accusation of sex crimes by a priest is enough to remove him from his parish pending the outcome of a child. She said that step is necessary to protect children.

"We're working hard to protect our children," she said.

The civil case is being prosecuted by the Seattle firm of Rogers and Fleck. In the brief filed by the firm, the now-43-year-old plaintiff claims Moffat molested him during various church trips and other church-related occasions.

In addition to the charge against Moffat, the plaintiff accuses the Seattle archdiocese with being negligent in supervising the priest.

The plaintiff also asks for monetary damages in the brief, damages to be proven during a scheduled April 26 trial.

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