Alaska Catholic Church abuse film to be shown tonight

April 27, 2011 

A new documentary film about sexual abuse of Alaska Native children by Catholic church officials will be shown tonight at 8 p.m. at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub.

Tickets are $7.

"The Silence" premiered earlier this month on PBS's "Frontline." A panel discussion featuring the filmmakers, Alaska Native elders, a psychologist and others will be after tonight's Spenard screening at 1230 W. 27th Ave.

"We're beyond just making it OK (to talk about). We are at a point now where we can listen and we can come up with a plan of healing," said Elsie Boudreau, a victims advocate who settled her claims involving Jesuit priest James Poole in 2005.

Boudreau appears in the half-hour documentary, which tells the story of boys and girls in St. Michael and other villages who were secretly abused by church workers and volunteers throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Told through fresh interviews with victims, the film culminates with a tense visit from Fairbanks Diocese Bishop Donald Kettler to St. Michael, where Kettler meets adults who were sexually abused by the church as children.

"The main response thus far from people that I've heard from in Alaska is, 'Thank God this is finally out there in a national level,' " said producer Tom Curran, who was raised in Anchorage and created the documentary along with reporter Mark Trahant.

Audiences outside the state, many hearing the story for the first time, are shocked to learn the extent of the abuse in Alaska, he said.

The panel will be moderated by former KTUU reporter Megan Baldino. Find more on the panelists, and watch a clip from the documentary, at www.adn.com/thevillage.

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