Yakima, Wash., diocese target of abuse lawsuit

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- An Oregon man has filed suit in federal court against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yakima, Wash., alleging he was abused as a 17-year-old by a former Catholic deacon who later became an Episcopal priest in Mexico.

The lawsuit filed in Yakima contends that Aaron Ramirez plied the plaintiff with alcohol in 1999 and sexually abused him. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $75,000.

Diocese spokesman Robert Siler said the church is very sorry for the abuse the Washington County, Ore., man suffered and recently renewed an offer to pay for counseling.

Ramirez fled to Mexico when police sought to question him about the case and was later ordained an Episcopal priest. The church there dismissed him after being notified about the U.S. allegations. His current whereabouts are not known.