EUGENE, Ore. -- A Portland man filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the United Methodist Church, claiming that he was raped by a Eugene pastor in the 1980s.
A Portland firm filed the case against the First United Methodist Church of Eugene on Wednesday, issuing a press release on behalf of the man.
The firm alleges that nearly 28 years ago the now-deceased Pastor William Walker sexually abused the plaintiff, who was 11 years old at the time.
Walker passed away in 1992 from complications related to AIDS. At the time of his death several other men in their late teens and 20s came forward saying that they had sex with the pastor.
One of the man's lawyers, Gilion Dumas, told KVAL News that her client was even younger than the other men when the alleged abuse took place.
"He was 11 years old when he was a member of the First Methodist Church … and he was involved in church activities with his pastor. Pastor Walker molested him at the church and also Camp Magruder," said Dumas.
Dumas is one of two lawyers from O'Donnell Clark & Crew LLP that will be representing the man in the lawsuit that seeks $4.5 million dollars. The Portland-based firm often represents adult victims of childhood sexual abuse that is brought against institutions.
The plaintiff said that it wasn't until recently that he could find the courage to break his silence and come forward.
“As a result of the trauma caused by childhood sexual abuse, very few sexual abuse survivors ever report what happened to them. It can be years and even decades before those who do report come forward. Simple telling their story is a huge step towards healing," said Dumas.
Dumas said that her client did not contract AIDS from Pastor Walker.