Jesuits sued over sex abuse bankruptcy

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Lawyers representing a group of people who accuse Jesuit priests of sexual abuse filed 37 lawsuits Thursday in bankruptcy court, asking for about $3 million.

The lawsuits claim that the Roman Catholic order paid money to various entities before declaring bankruptcy two years ago, and that that money should actually be part of the order’s assets.

Some of money went towards training priests and other funds were spent on faculty and student tuition at a time when abuse victims were seeking millions in dollars in damages against the order, said James Stang, the attorney for creditor’s committee that brought the lawsuits.

Stang said the suits do not contend that the Jesuits were trying to protect their assets from abuse claims.

The Jesuits’ Northwest Province filed for bankruptcy in 2009 in the face of sex-abuse lawsuits. From 2001-2009, the order settled more than 200 legal claims, paying out $25 million. The Jesuits would not comment on the new lawsuits.

Young Christians seek intentional community among poor

GRESHAM, Ore. -- In the two years since David Knepprath and Josh Guisinger moved into the rough-and-tumble Barberry Village complex, roughly a dozen young Christian men and women have made Barberry Village their home.

Their goal: Create a sense of community in a chaotic neighborhood overrun with drugs, prostitution and gangs.

Their work mirrors, in some ways, the “new monasticism” movement, in which Christians move into urban or rural areas to work with the poor.

It’s not an easy way to live. Some neighbors have been suspicious. Safety is an ongoing concern. And some of these urban missionaries have burned out on a project that can be a 24-hour-a-day burden.

Yet they’ve been so successful that other complex owners have asked them to replicate their efforts. Congregations have volunteered their services. A woman from Virginia is moving to the Portland area so she can do similar work in another neighborhood.

Now, at least once a month, churches cook meals for the residents at Barberry Village. In early August, children were invited to a three-day Bible camp.