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Priest Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Franciscan Order

By February 11, 2009June 19th, 2020No Comments

February 11, 2009

For More Information:
Attorney Kelly Clark
(503) 306-0224 or

Portland, Ore–Today a Portland man filed a $4M child sexual abuse lawsuit against the Franciscan Friars of California, an order of the Roman Catholic Church, for abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of Father Claude Riffel at the St Francis Minor Seminary in Troutdale in 1962-65.  According to the lawsuit, Fr Riffel, then the Dean of discipline for the school, would call the then 15 year old boy out of class on the pretext of assigning him work tasks, at which time he would abuse him.  The abuse occurred, according to the suit on “scores” of occasions. 

The case was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court by Portland attorney Kelly Clark, who frequently handles such cases against churches, schools, the Boy Scouts, athletic leagues and other “institutions of trust” that work with children.  St Francis Seminary was owned and operated by the Franciscan Friars, headquartered in California. The Franciscan Friars of California is a part of the worldwide Catholic order of Franciscans, formally known as the Friars Minor. It is an independent Catholic entity unaffiliated with any diocese, including the Archdiocese of Portland, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2004 as a result of a torrent of child abuse lawsuits.


View the Official Complaint Here