Three former priests, who worked at several different Kirkland churches, were named last week by the Archdiocese of Seattle in a list of clergy and religious leaders who the church believes were involved in sexual abuse of a minor in Western Washington.
However, not among the names of accused was former youth minister Jim Funnell at St. John Vianney Church who was alleged to have molested a child in the mid-1980s for more than a year. A lawsuit was filed and scheduled before the parish district settled out of court for $635,000 in 2012.
The three priests named in the Archdiocese release who served in Kirkland at some point included Harold Quigg and Stephen Trippy, both of whom are deceased. The third priest is Gerald Moffat, who is listed as being in “permanent prayer and penance,” a status which applies to a priest permanently removed from all public ministry.
In 2003, a 43-year-old man committed suicide in the parking lot of the Kirkland church where Moffat served in the 1970s after the man filed an anonymous lawsuits against Moffat, alleging sexual abuse. Five other men had also filed similar lawsuits against two other local priests in the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese at the same time.
Kirkland Police Spokesperson Lt. Mike Murray said that there is no active investigation going on at this time in response to those included on the list from Kirkland. He added that they can’t launch an investigation unless a victim comes forward.
“If we don’t have a victim we can’t arbitrarily create a case even though they’ve (the Archdiocese) reported that,” he said. “That’s one of the problems with those investigations.”
Quigg also served at Sacred Heart in Bellevue, where he maintained a sexual relationship with an unidentified teenager. Parish leadership were not made aware of the allegations until 2014, and information about Quigg’s actions in 1980 were kept private at Quigg’s request and also because the archdiocese concluded that the incident did not constitute sexual abuse of a minor under canon and civil law at the time. Quigg was prohibited from participating in any public priestly ministry, presenting himself publicly as a priest or wearing clerical garb in 2004, it was later discovered that Quigg did not comply with these rules. He was eventually defrocked by the Vatican.
In a press release announcing the publication of the list, Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said they are trying to maintain accountability and encourage other victims to come forward.
“I express my deepest apologies for the actions of those who were in positions of trust and who violated that sacred trust by abusing the vulnerable in their care,” Sartain wrote in a letter.
The list names clergy who served between 1923 and 2008 and includes 30 archdiocesan and 16 religious priests, 14 religious brothers, one religious sister, two deacons and 14 priests from other dioceses.
It is not known at this time why Funnell’s name was not included in the list. Phone calls to the Seattle Archdiocese seeking comment were not returned.
Bellevue Reporter Allison Deangelis contributed to this story.