Payment plan for Spokane Diocese bankruptcy announced

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Jesuit Order of Roman Catholic priests says it will pay about $5 million to 16 people who say they were sexually abused by clergy while attending a boarding school on the Colville Indian reservation.

The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuit Order of priests, also pledged to raise an additional $200,000 for a homeless shelter or homeless services in the Omak area.

The Jesuits operated St. Mary's Mission and boarding school near Omak until turning it over to the Colville Confederated tribes in 1973.

The 15 women and one man claimed they were sexually abused while pupils by the school's superior, Father John J. Morse and Brother James Gates, a Jesuit worker, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The settlement was announced Thursday by lawyers for the claimants and the Very Rev. John D. Whitney, head of the Oregon Province of Jesuits.

Morse was removed from public ministry after the allegations surfaced last April. He continues to deny abusing children. Morse and Gates both live in supervised Jesuit homes, where their movements are constantly monitored.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)