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To fill a drum of heating oil. To take his children to school. To wash his clothes at the only laundromat in this Eskimo village of The decaying wood-frame building also haunts John Lockwood, a married father of nine. The devoutly Catholic village elders welcomed Lundowski warmly, as they did all men of the cloth.
But the children soon grew to fear and despise him. Michael and the neighboring settlement of Stebbins. The alleged victims, now in their 40s and 50s, say they secretly carried this burden until last year. Then, after watching the Catholic sexual abuse scandal unfold on satellite television, 28 men from the two villages decided to break their silence. Michael Eskimos who is still a Catholic. He wears a homemade rosary around his neck, the blue be held together by string from a fishing net.
Inthe Jesuits established their first mission in western Alaska. Making converts in this frozen, unforgiving corner of the world proved difficult at first. The Eskimo shamans seemed no match for the deadly virus. The spiritual defeat, along with encroaching Western influences, caused entire villages to convert to the new religion.
Today, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks stretches across the upper two-thirds of Alaska, a rugged chunk of territory bigger than Texas but with just 41 churches and 24 priests. Staffing remote parishes such as those in St. Michael and Stebbins with full-time priests has proved impossible, which is why Lundowski and other volunteers played a key role in village ministries. Just miles below the Arctic Circle, the wind-swept settlements of St. Michael Island sit 12 miles apart on a rugged section of coast where the tundra meets the Bering Sea.
They are accessible only by small plane or, when the ice melts on Norton Sound, by boat.
In summer, the island is a place of great beauty. Wildflowers blanket the rolling hills, and the occasional Beluga whale swims among schools of herring and king salmon in the dark blue sea. In winter, the landscape becomes a white, windy Arctic desert, and even the sea freezes for months on end. Lundowski arrived inat the end of a long personal odyssey. An orphan, he was raised in West Virginia by his aunt.
George Patton in North Africa and Europe, former associates said. After the war, he lived at a Trappist monastery in Oregon and worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska before volunteering to help Father George Endal, a Jesuit priest, in several Eskimo villages. Father Endal was responsible for St.
Michael, Stebbins and a third settlement, Unalakleet, 45 minutes away by plane. Villagers said that for long stretches of time, he left parish affairs on St. Michael Island in the hands of Lundowski and another lay missionary. Villagers said he wore vestments and held Sunday services, gave homilies, taught catechism, baptized children, officiated at weddings and performed burial services at a hillside cemetery, where digging a grave required breaking through six feet of frozen tundra with picks and shovels.
Lundowski started molesting boys soon after he arrived, according to legal documents. Then 17 and a devout Catholic, Steve had volunteered to help Lundowski teach catechism classes at St. Bernard Church in Stebbins. One afternoon, he said, Lundowski asked him to stay after class and wash some dishes.
Michael parish beginning at age After the other boys left, Lundowski locked the doors and lowered the window shades, Kobuk said. Over the next four years, Kobuk said the missionary plied him with altar wine, sodomized him and forced him to engage in sexual acts with other Eskimo children -- boys and girls. Kobuk said that when he threatened to tell, Lundowski told him to go ahead, insisting that no one would believe over a man of God. Kobuk said the missionary also threatened to flunk Kobuk in catechism class. Another villager, Elias Pete Jr. When he was 9, Pete said, Lundowski performed oral sex on him for the first of many times.
Afterward, he said, the missionary gave him 25 cents that he shook out of an Easter Seal donation can. Lockwood, 48, of St. People will just think you fell down. The isolated and impoverished Eskimo villages had spotty telephone service and no police officers.
But Kobuk and several others said they tried to get help. The end came without warning. One day, Lundowski was teaching catechism classes to the village boys. The next morning, he was gone. Jerry Austin, who owned St. Austin suggested Lundowski wait until later in the day, when a bush pilot was expected to fly in. He said he agreed to make the flight as a favor to the church.
The next morning, Lundowski climbed into the single-propeller plane carrying only a small duffel bag. They flew in silence to Unalakleet. Like many others, Lockwood turned to alcohol and drugs. Thomas Cheemuk got married, raised six children and attempted suicide three times. Kobuk vented his rage with a string of assaults -- on fellow villagers, a church secretary and his own children.
His convictions drew sentences totaling days in jail. Conner Thomas, a criminal defense attorney in Nome, says he often wonders why the men of St. Packy Kobuk was one of the only Eskimos to talk openly about what had happened. He said Dark and sexy black guy at Unalakleet Alaska spoke about the alleged abuse with at least nine priests and one nun. On three occasions, he said, he brought it up with Bishop Michael Joseph Kaniecki, who came to the village annually to perform the confirmation ceremonies.
The prelate has since died and church officials said they have no record of any complaints about Lundowski. One summer evening inKobuk saw a television news report about a sexual abuse case against a popular Nome priest. For the first time since the Catholic Church molestation scandals had erupted, someone was taking on the Alaska church. The first lawyer he approached turned the case down, citing a conflict of interest. The rejection hit him hard. He said he rode his four-wheel Honda ATV to a remote beach where a grizzly bear had been spotted and he followed its tracks in the sand.
Any information, no matter how small, can help seek justice and healing. Shortly afterward, he was swamped with calls from others who said they had been abused. Since then, 85 Alaska natives from 13 villages have filed claims against the church for alleged abuse by six priests and two lay missionaries from to Father John D. Initially, all of the Stebbins and St. Now the men must prove their claims. As victims of clergy sexual abuse across the country have learned, reconstructing events that occurred decades ago in secret is a daunting task.
The villagers and their attorneys dug through church archives, family photo albums and old letters looking for evidence. Roosa came across a grainy copy of a church newsletter that listed participants in a training program for deacons in the Diocese of Fairbanks. It included a photo of a bald man with horn-rimmed glasses.
This was proof that the church had trained Lundowski as a deacon and knew he was serving in Stebbins. The letter was written three years before Lundowski arrived in St. Michael by Father Jules M. Convert began by asking for a shipment of food for his men and more nails to complete the building of a village church, but most of the letter was devoted to his concern about Lundowski.
What would you do if it involved a woman? You should try to bring the scandal to end There is no evidence that church authorities investigated the allegations. Convert himself now stands accused of molesting 20 Eskimo children. An additional piece of evidence against Lundowski came from one of his alleged victims.
It goes without saying that if I am in anyway to blame for your illness, I apologize Since I left Alaska and came [to Chicago] to work, I have accepted the Lord in a real and personal mannerDark and sexy black guy at Unalakleet Alaska
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