Sigler: Father Jason Sigler

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Father Jason Sigler

Born River Rouge Michigan

priest Archdiocese of Winnipeg, Manitoba

1964:  Ordained

1968:  serving in Michigan, USA

1970:  treatment at Servants of the Paraclete Centre, New Mexico

1997 & 1998:  allegations of sexual abuse of boys while in New Mexico

late 90s/early 2000?    CONVICTED.  Sentenced to 7 years

2006:  allegations of sexual abuse of boys related to his time in Michigan

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Bishop, diocese dispute efforts: Spokesman says church aims to help victims of sex abuse.

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI)

January 16, 2006

Byline: Patricia Montemurri

Jan. 16–Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton said Sunday that he’d support new Michigan laws to give victims more time to sue for monetary damages over long-ago sexual abuse by predatory Catholic priests — legislation that’s opposed by the state’s top Catholic officials. But Archdiocese of Detroit spokesman Ned McGrath suggested Sunday that Gumbleton is being hypocritical, and said that Gumbleton authorized church lawyers to invoke the same statute of limitations law he’s now criticizing to block lawsuits which contended local church leaders, including Gumbleton, failed to monitor a onetime priest accused of abusing youngsters decades ago. “I’m surprised by Bishop Gumbleton’s stand on this,” McGrath said. “He’s authorized the archdiocese lawyers to use the statute of limitations stance on his defense.” Gumbleton disputed McGrath’s statement, saying that defense was invoked “without my knowledge” and added that he had no oversight of the priest identified as an abuser in the lawsuits. Last week, Gumbleton said he’d been inappropriately touched by a priest when he was a teenager attending Detroit’s old Sacred Heart Seminary high school in the mid-1940s. Speaking after Sunday mass at the church where he’s pastor, St. Leo’s just northwest of downtown, Gumbleton said the Catholic church should be more concerned with victim outreach than protecting diocesan bank accounts. “I figure whatever the price, you have to speak the truth,” said Gumbleton, 75. He said he was unaware of past failed legislative attempts in Michigan to change the statute of limitations, but he would lobby for them now.

“If it costs us lots in material goods, the spiritual purification will be worth it,” Gumbleton said. “The more I hear from these survivors, the more widespread I think this is.” Bills to remove time limits on pursuing older abuse cases have gone nowhere in the Michigan Legislature to date. Lawsuits brought by victims have been thrown out of court as a result. Some cases are now on appeal before the Michigan Supreme Court. Among the lawsuits that were blocked are ones filed by victims of former priest Jason Sigler, who was raised in River Rouge, ordained in Canada and who said masses at several parishes in the Detroit and Flint areas in the 1960s and 1970s. The lawsuits name church officials in three states and Gumbleton as a defendant, saying there was a letter that suggested Gumbleton once conspired to conceal Sigler’s predatory behavior. Gumbleton said Sunday he did not handle dealings with Sigler, who is serving a 7-year Michigan prison sentence. But Gumbleton said all victims “should certainly be listened to, apologized to and be compensated in whatever way was necessary and helpful,” and that juries should decide that. But McGrath said Gumbleton’s statements ignore the archdiocese’s efforts to help victims of abuse and pay for their counseling. “I don’t think it’s fair to say that the church has somehow forgotten this issue or forsaken those who were tragically harmed, both physically and spiritually, by clerical sexual abuse,” McGrath said. “From what I’ve seen, those who champion the ‘nothing’s been done, teach them a lesson’ argument are, for the most part, attorneys who will benefit greatly themselves from the claims they are making.”

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Canada Bars N.M. Sex Abuse Suits Against Archdiocese.(Metro & New Mexico)

Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

January 12, 1998

Byline: The Associated Press

SANTA FE — New Mexico victims of alleged sexual abuse by a priest ordained in Canada can’t bring damage suits against the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, the state Court of Appeals ruled.

The court, in a unanimous decision last week, upheld the dismissal of suits by two men because New Mexico courts don’t have jurisdiction over the archdiocese in Canada.

The suits sought damages for alleged sexual abuse by former priest Jason Sigler, who came to New Mexico in 1970.

The ruling by the court mirrored its decision last year in suits by three other men against the Archdiocese of Winnipeg involving alleged sexual abuse by Sigler when they were children. The ruling was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which declined to consider the cases.

Sigler had been ordained as a priest in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg in 1964. The suit contends church leaders in Canada were negligent because they failed to properly supervise Sigler and warn the church in New Mexico concerning Sigler’s pedophilia.

Sigler came to New Mexico in 1970 for treatment at the Servants of the Holy Paraclete center in Jemez Springs and then served as a priest at several churches in New Mexico. Sigler had left Canada in 1968 to serve as a priest in Michigan, and then he came to New Mexico.

The appeals court said the church in Canada wasn’t subject to the authority of New Mexico courts under the state’s “long-arm” law.

The court said there wasn’t evidence that the Archdiocese of Winnipeg knew Sigler was a pedophile when he left Canada or that Winnipeg “continued to maintain any significant relationship with Sigler after it learned he was a pedophile.”

Stephen Tinkler, a Santa Fe lawyer for the men who filed the suit, didn’t return a telephone call Thursday seeking comment on the court ruling.

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