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Originally published Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 9:05 AM

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Former Seattle priest accused in sexual misconduct lawsuit

A priest who in 2006 resigned suddenly from West Seattle's Holy Rosary Church is being accused in a lawsuit of inappropriate sexual conduct with an adult parishioner.

Seattle Time staff reporter

A priest who in 2006 resigned suddenly from West Seattle's Holy Rosary Church is being accused in a lawsuit of inappropriate sexual conduct with an adult male parishioner.

The lawsuit, filed last week in King County Superior Court, says the parishioner went to see the Rev. Jeffrey Sarkies as a "spiritual director" beginning in 2004. The plaintiff was then 24 and wanted to enter the priesthood.

In 2005, when the plaintiff was in "personal crisis," Sarkies invited him to his residence and "engaged him in sexual activity under the guise of providing therapy and guidance," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also claims the Seattle Roman Catholic Archdiocese was negligent.

Sarkies, who reportedly is living in Arizona, could not be reached for comment.

Sarkies resigned from Holy Rosary, one of the largest churches in the archdiocese, in March 2006, leaving parishioners puzzled about the reason. At the time, the Seattle Archdiocese said that it had found that Sarkies violated professional ethics policy in the area of sexual misconduct and harassment.

Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni said Wednesday that he couldn't say whether this specific incident prompted Sarkies' resignation and he couldn't comment on the allegations since they're under litigation.

Lorena Gonzalez, an attorney for the plaintiff, said Sarkies resigned after the conclusion of an investigation into the incident involving her client.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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