Wednesday, September 19, 2012

KHQ Right Now - News and Weather for Spokane and North Idaho | Nationalism ... - KHQ Right Now

By MALCOLM FOSTER
Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) - One is a former prime minister known for his nationalistic views. A second is a hawkish former defense chief. And a third is the son of Tokyo's outspoken governor whose proposal to buy and develop a cluster of uninhabited islands claimed by both China and Japan has set off a territorial furor between the two countries.

A look at the top candidates to lead Japan's main opposition party - and potentially to become Japan's next prime minister - suggests that Japan may soon get a more nationalist government. That could ratchet up already tense relations with China and South Korea over territorial disputes that have flared in recent weeks and brought anti-Japanese demonstrations to dozens of Chinese cities.

There is little sign that Japanese have grown more nationalistic, but the ruling Democratic Party of Japan is expected to get clobbered in elections that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says he will call soon. Voters are angry over Noda's push to double the sales tax and his party's failure to bring promised change to Japan's stodgy politics.

That leaves the opposition Liberal Democratic Party poised to regain the power it lost three years ago after decades of being Japan's dominant political force. Polls suggest the LDP would win the most seats in the more powerful lower house of parliament, although probably not a majority, so it would need to forge a governing coalition to rule.

If the LDP regains power, its new leader, to be chosen in a Sept. 26 party vote, would almost certainly become the next prime minister.

The LDP is a conservative, pro-U.S. party with a traditional suspicion of China. The five candidates running for its top job, including former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, have been taking turns calling on Japan to get tough with Beijing in the escalating dispute over the rocky outcroppings in the East China Sea called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. The islands, near key shipping lanes and surrounded by rich fishing grounds and untapped natural resources, are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

"Losing a piece of our territory eventually means losing the whole country," declared Ishiba, a security and national defense expert who is considered a hawk, a press conference Wednesday. He has said he would be in favor of developing the islands - a move that would surely anger China.

"Our beautiful countryside and ocean are under threat," Abe, perhaps the most right-wing of the five, has said from the campaign trail.

Abe riled Asian neighbors when he was prime minister in 2006-07 by saying there was no proof Japan's military had coerced Chinese, Korean and other women into prostitution in military brothels during World War II. He later apologized, but lately he has been suggesting that a landmark 1993 apology for sex slavery may need revising.

Abe also has recently said he regrets not visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including executed war criminals, during his time as prime minister. This issue is important: Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni in the early 2000s put relations with China into a deep freeze.

Another front-runner in the LDP race is Nobuteru Ishihara, son of the Tokyo's stridently nationalistic governor Shintaro Ishihara.

The elder Ishihara set off the East China Sea flare-up by proposing in April that Tokyo's metropolitan government buy the islands from their private Japanese owners and build fishing facilities on them. That compelled the central government to buy the islands themselves to prevent efforts to build on them that could have escalated the dispute.

China still responded angrily, sending surveillance ships into waters near the islands and allowing protests that have raged for days. Japanese have been alarmed by footage of Chinese rioters attacking Japanese-owned companies in China.

While the younger Ishihara is less outspoken than his father, his blood ties would be a major obstacle for Beijing in particular.

"It's going to be very difficult for him to disassociate himself from his father," said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University in Tokyo. "If you do have a nationalist in charge in Japan, they could make things worse. They certainly could throw oil on the fire."

China is not the only country clashing with Japan over land. Tensions with South Korea spiked after President Lee Myung-bak visited an island cluster called Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima by Japan that is claimed by both countries but controlled by Seoul.

Japanese voters, however, may not share nationalist politicians' aggressive stance. The general population appears more deeply concerned about the stagnant economy, social security and overhauling energy policy in the wake of last year's nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

Aside from the usual small protests outside the Chinese Embassy, by far right-wing demonstrators in black trucks blaring martial music, there have been virtually no public demonstrations in Japan over the East China Sea islands, while thousands gather regularly in front of the prime minister's residence to demand the end of nuclear power.

While some Japanese want a tough leader who can stand up to China, others are worried that if Abe, Ishiba or Ishihara become prime minister, ties with China and other neighbors will worsen.

"I'm worried this dispute could lead to war if any of these men become our leader," said Kaoru Hara, a 22-year-old advertising agency employee. "We need someone who can express Japan's position but also someone who can listen to China's side."

Still, China's rise and North Korea's attempts to fire a rocket near Japan earlier this year create an opportunity for some politicians to exploit.

"I don't think the country is moving to the right, but I think there's more room today to whip up more nationalist fervor because people are feeling a bit more vulnerable," said Sheila Smith, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

Ishiba, who twice has held the top post in the nation's military, is the most popular choice among LDP supporters, according to a Kyodo News agency poll. He has a reputation for being sharp and a bit of a military geek. He has also suggested that one reason Japan should maintain its nuclear energy program is to keep open the option of developing a nuclear warhead - although Japan currently has no such plans.

Ishihara, a former TV political reporter, has stressed the importance of dialogue with China. But last week, he said he believed it was important that the emperor be able to visit and pray at Yasukuni Shrine, which would surely upset China.

Two other candidates for the LDP's presidency, former economic and fiscal policy minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and former foreign minister Nobutaka Machimura, are both less nationalistic but seen as having little chance of winning.

Abe's track record as prime minister was that of a nationalist ideologue: He urged a revision of Japan's pacifist constitution, pressed for patriotic education, upgraded the defense agency to ministry status and pushed for Japan to have a greater international peacekeeping role.

He has also reached out to the brash, young mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, a rising star who wants to slash the number of seats in parliament and has espoused nationalistic views. He recently formed his own national political party that analysts predict could win a chunk of seats in elections and be a part of an LDP-led coalition.

Abe blasted China over the anti-Japanese protests Wednesday, saying that if Beijing can't protect Japanese living in China, it "should not enjoy membership in the international community."

"In Japan," he said, "there is no flag-burning, there is no harm to Chinese nationals in this country, and we should be proud of that."

__

Associated Press Writers Yuri Kageyama and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Wednesday Slice question - The Spokesman Review (blog)

Here's an end-of-summer rerun. (Actually, I have asked this many times. So it's really more of a re-rerun. But it could be argued that it is the essential Spokane question.)

Is Spokane big enough to offer the attractions and benefits of a city without being dragged down by the drawbacks of the urban experience … or is it not really large enough to generate the upside of city life but is still home to the hassles and social ills often associated with metropolitan America?

A) The former. Most of the people who complain about the lack of culture here never leave home. B) The latter. Places like Portland or Minneapolis â€" or, for that matter, Bozeman, Bend, Logan or Flagstaff â€" would be a better bet. C) Neither. D) Depends on how much money you have. E) Not that simple. Are you more interested in kayaking or in foreign films? F) Your health, family happiness and income security are all that matter regardless of where you live. G) Does medical specialists and college basketball count as culture? H) It's the former. I can show you the ticket stubs. And I don't think our crime situation is “Let's move to a gated community” bad. I) It's the latter. People here talk about diversity as if it's just a race thing. But its real magic is holding open the possibility that, on any given day, you will meet someone whose life experiences and perspectives are altogether unlike your own. I don't find that here. J) It's a little of both. K) Spokane would be fine if people just realized that nothing here â€" good, bad or in between â€" is unique. L) Spokane would be fine if people really understood why family members who moved to the West Side are not dying to come back. M) Other.

KHQ Right Now - News and Weather for Spokane and North Idaho | France to ... - KHQ Right Now

By GREG KELLER and LORI HINNANT
Associated Press

PARIS (AP) - France stepped up security at some of its embassies on Wednesday after a satirical Parisian weekly published crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The prime minister said he would block a demonstration by people angry over a movie insulting to Islam as the country plunged into a fierce debate about free speech.

The government defended the right of magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish the cartoons, which played off of the U.S.-produced film "The Innocence of Muslims," and riot police took up positions outside the offices of the magazine, which was firebombed last year after it released an edition that mocked radical Islam.

The amateurish movie, which portrays the prophet as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester, has set off violence in seven countries that has killed at least 28 people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Government authorities and Muslim leaders urged calm in France, which has western Europe's largest Muslim population.

CFCM, an umbrella group for French Muslims, issued a statement expressing "deep concern" over the caricatures and warning that "in a very tense context, it risks exacerbating tensions and provoking reactions."

It urged French Muslims to "not cede to provocation and ... express their indignation in peace via legal means."

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said organizers of a demonstration planned for Saturday against "Innocence of Muslims" won't receive police authorization.

"There's no reason for us to let a conflict that doesn't concern France come into our country," Ayrault told French radio RTL.

Paris prosecutors have opened an investigation into an unauthorized protest last Saturday around the U.S. Embassy that drew about 150 people and led to scores of arrests.

The tensions surrounding the film are provoking debate in France about the limits of free speech.

The small-circulation weekly Charlie Hebdo often draws attention for ridiculing sensitivity around the Prophet Muhammad, and an investigation into the firebombing of its offices last year is still open. The magazine's website was down Wednesday for reasons that were unclear.

One of the cartoonists, who goes by the name of Tignous, defended the drawings in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press at the weekly's offices, on the northeast edge of Paris amid a cluster of housing projects.

"It's just a drawing," he said. "It's not a provocation."

The prime minister said freedom of expression is guaranteed in France, but cautioned that it "should be exercised with responsibility and respect."

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, speaking on France Inter radio, said the principle of freedom of expression "must not be infringed."

But he added: "Is it pertinent, intelligent, in this context to pour oil on the fire? The answer is no."

He said he had "sent instructions to all countries where this could pose problems. We are taking specific security measures."

On the streets of Paris, public reaction was mixed.

"I'm not shocked at all. If this shocks people, well too bad for them," said Sylvain Marseguerra, a 21-year-old student at the Sorbonne. "We are free to say what we want. We are a country in which freedom prevails and ... if this doesn't enchant some people, well too bad for them."

Khairreddene Chabbara disagreed. "We are for freedom of expression, but when it comes to religion it shouldn't hurt the feelings of believers."

___

Nicolas Garriga and Jeff Schaeffer contributed to this report from Paris.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Former officer Thompson's request for new trial rejected - The Spokesman Review

September 19, 2012 in City
By The Spokesman-Review

A federal judge refused Tuesday to order a new trial for former Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr., saying last year’s convictions for beating an unarmed janitor in 2006 and then lying about it should stand.

But it could be months before Thompson, whose lawyer says he will appeal the ruling, is sentenced for his role in the violent confrontation that led to the death of Otto Zehm, a mentally ill man mistakenly accused of theft.

“We will appeal this decision,” said Thompson’s lawyer, Carl Oreskovich. “We think that the right decision would have been to grant us a new trial and we are optimistic that the court of appeals will agree.”

In the meantime, Thompson will remain free. U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle, who canceled an earlier sentencing hearing for Thompson to give his legal team a chance to prepare arguments for a new trial, is expected to set a new date soon.

At the sentencing hearing, Thompson will either be taken into custody, will be allowed to self-report to prison or will be allowed to remain free pending appeals.

Mike Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington, said he won’t comment on an ongoing case.

Oreskovich argued on Aug. 31 that Thompson should receive a new trial because federal prosecutors neglected to disclose information to the defense that could have won his acquittal.

The decorated former officer was convicted by a federal jury in Yakima on Nov. 2 of using excessive force and lying to investigators in the violent encounter with Zehm, who was inside a Spokane convenience store when Thompson charged him with a nightstick and beat him to the ground. Other officers joined the melee and Zehm died two days after being beaten, shocked with a Taser and hog-tied.

Oreskovich said he’ll appeal based on the suppression of the government expert Grant Fredericks’ opinion, which Oreskovich called exculpatory. Fredericks, a videographer, was hired by the Justice Department to review security footage of the fatal confrontation.

When arguing for a new trial, Oreskovich said that a report on a meeting between FBI special agent Lisa Jangaard and Fredericks was inaccurate and mischaracterized Frederick’s opinions, which would have proven favorable to Thompson’s defense.

In his ruling, Van Sickle agreed that favorable evidence was withheld from the defense, but said “the possibility of a different outcome is not great enough to undermine confidence in the verdicts the jury rendered.”

He wrote, “To the contrary, the verdicts are worthy of the public’s confidence.”

Breann Beggs, who represented Zehm’s estate in the civil case, said the family is happy with the ruling, but the likely appeal comes as no surprise.

“I would fully expect them to appeal,” Beggs said. “They have a very well-qualified legal team and taxpayers have paid for an excellent defense for Mr. Thompson, so of course they are going to appeal and, of course, they are allowed to do that.”

However, he said, “We are confident that jury verdict will be upheld.”

Hand-tossed pies at Fire? Smokin' - The Spokesman Review

September 19, 2012 in Food
By The Spokesman-Review
Kathy Plonka photoBuy this photo

Fire Artisan Pizza cook Courtney Isaksson shares a laugh at the restaurant in Coeur d’Alene last Friday.
(Full-size photo)

Review

FIRE ARTISAN PIZZA

WHERE: 517 Sherman Ave., Coeur d’Alene

CALL: (208) 676-1743

HOURS: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday

and Saturday

THE TAB: Appetizers: $4-$14; pizza: $13-$16

Good news, Spokane

  Fire Artisan Pizza is coming to downtown.

The Coeur d’Alene restaurant announced on its Facebook page last week plans to open a second location. Managing partner Doug Johnson said the aim is to open in December.

 “We have had a lot of customers in the Coeur d’Alene store who were coming from Spokane,” Johnson said. “There was a lot of excitement for this product in Spokane.”

 The store will open in the old Moxie space, 816 W. Sprague Ave., across from the Davenport Hotel. The space was tailor-made for Fire, said Josh Hissong, of HDG Hissong + Hurtado Design Group. “It’s almost identical in size and footprint,” Hissong said. “The Fire concept works perfectly in that location.”

Carolyn Lamberson

When most Americans think of pizza, they think of something that arrives on their doorstep in a box. Or worse, something that comes from a grocery store freezer. Something that’s cheap and, frankly, boring.

Fortunately, there’s a cure for the pizza blues and it can be found in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

For just over a year, Fire Artisan Pizza has been hand-tossing its way into the hearts and stomachs of pizza fans. With its housemade crusts, creative toppings and industrial-cool vibe, it quickly became a favorite lunch and dinner spot in the Lake City.

Last year, when I first walked into the place â€" which is not at all recognizable from its previous life as half of the Christmas decor shop Christmas at the Lake â€" I was quickly taken by it. Large black-and-white photos dominate the walls. It’s all concrete and hard surfaces, with fun woody details sprinkled throughout. The reception desk sits upon what looks to be a stack of firewood. Walls of reclaimed wood separate rows of booths, and pizzas arrive at your table upon wooden slabs. The pizza oven dominates the open kitchen in the back corner, so you can watch the pizza chefs shape your pie, add toppings and slide it into the blistering hot fire.

The menu features an extensive wine and bottled beer list. There are only four beer taps, and on a recent visit they had just drained the keg of St. Stephen from Post Falls’ Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company, which meant there was no local option to drink. Still, my tasty IPA from Colorado hit the spot.

On my previous trips to Fire, I’ve pretty much focused on one pizza â€" The Gordy. It’s topped with dates, gorgonzola, mozzarella, olive oil and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. If this strikes you as weird, don’t worry. That’s how it struck me, too. Until I tried it. With the first bite, I saw what they were going for. The sweetness of the dates and the balsamic paired beautifully with the tanginess of the gorgonzola. The crust, which comes out of the oven crisp and pleasingly charred, helps brings all these flavors together for a really delicious experience. This is an exceptional pizza, one that I’m happy to order again and again.

Fortunately, my husband is more adventurous when he orders, which means I’ve been able to sample other pies. The Parma is another hit, with prosciutto and four cheeses â€" gorgonzola, pecorino, mozzarella and provolone â€" and finished with truffle oil. The strongly flavored gorgonzola and pecorino are a great combination with the milder mozzarella and provolone; add in the saltiness of the prosciutto and the luxuriousness of the truffle oil and you get eight slices of heaven.

For the meat-eaters out there, there’s the simply named Meat. It’s got a little bit of everything. Fennel sausage, pepperoni, salami and bacon and mozzarella. Super tasty. Even my picky 8-year-old daughter thought so, as she sat there and stole the toppings, piece by piece, from a slice on the serving board.

The Bar-b, with barbecue sauce, roasted chicken, Kansas City bacon, smoked provolone, gouda, red onion and fresh cilantro, is a great option for those who like their pizza decidedly un-Italian.

And for as much as I have had great pizza at Fire, I have to admit to being unimpressed with one menu offering â€" the Margherita. This classic pizza is the height of simplicity. Crust, tomatoes, cheese and basil. On our recent visit, we ordered a Margherita for the kids. And it was great for them. The picky 8-year-old inhaled hers. But when I tried it? Meh.

I was struck by how bland the pizza was. Tasted separately, the tomato sauce was fresh and lively. But it was completely washed out by the mild mozzarella. The sauce also seemed a bit wet, which meant the toppings slid right off the crust.

Still, there is plenty to love about a Fire pizza. And plenty to keep me coming back for more.

Anti-Shea mailer features pointing gun - The Spokesman Review

September 19, 2012 in City
GOP candidate decries opponent’s ad as hateful
By The Spokesman-Review

Democratic challenger Amy Biviano is turning incumbent Republican state Rep. Matt Shea’s road rage case into a campaign issue.

But the mailer that began arriving in Spokane Valley mailboxes over the weekend includes embellished details of the lawmaker’s armed Nov. 23 encounter in downtown Spokane. Complicating matters, Shea includes some misrepresentations of his own in his denouncement of the Biviano attack ad and in other efforts he’s taken to downplay the severity of the encounter.

At issue is the misdemeanor charge of carrying a loaded gun in a vehicle without a concealed weapons permit filed against Shea following a heated exchange stemming from a near collision. In a plea agreement in which Shea acknowledged the accuracy of the police report containing the allegations against him, the charge will be dismissed Jan. 18 if he avoids any further criminal behavior.

The Biviano mailer, however, strongly suggests that Shea pointed the gun at the other motorist even though the victim told police that while he saw the pistol in Shea’s hand, he never saw the barrel pointed at him.

Biviano said Tuesday that she felt it was fair to include in the mailer a large picture of a driver pointing a gun because that’s how the victim initially reported the incident to 911. She stressed that police reports make it clear that the other driver feared for his life.

Shea, responding through social media websites, called Biviano’s mailer a hateful attempt to divide voters.

“Please join me in calling on my opponent and the Democrat Party to stop their politics of hate and division,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “This is Spokane Valley, not Seattle, and we are Americans that should be working together to solve the great crisis facing our nation.”

Shea did not return calls to The Spokesman-Review seeking his comment.

But he, too, appears to have misrepresented the incident when defending himself against criticism. Shea cites details favorable to his position that he claims are contained within police reports of the incident, even though that information is nowhere to be found in the reports prepared by the investigating officers, which were obtained by The Spokesman-Review under the state’s Public Records Act.

‘Afraid for his life’

Two police officers investigated the road rage incident that occurred Nov. 23 and interviewed Shea, Leroy Norris â€" whom police label the victim â€" and another witness. All three drivers independently reported the incident to police.

Police reports say that Norris initially reported to 911 that Shea “pointed a gun at him.” That phrase is quoted on Biviano’s campaign mailer on top of a picture of a driver pointing a gun out the window of a vehicle.

But based on interviews police conducted with Norris, it appears unlikely that Shea aimed the gun at him.

Norris reported seeing Shea with a gun, and Shea admitted to officers that he took it out of his glove compartment during the incident.

“Leroy did not believe that the driver of the truck pointed the gun at him at any time,” Reserve Officer Nate Gobble wrote.

However, there are several other instances in the report that indicate that Norris felt threatened when Shea pulled the gun, according to reports filed by the two officers.

“Leroy told me he was not only afraid, but was afraid for his life,” wrote Officer Stephanie Kennedy. “Leroy said the only reason he was driving this aggressive and erratic was to get away from the guy who was chasing him with a gun.”

Police reports indicate that officers initially suspected that Norris, who was driving a Lumina, may have been driving recklessly, but as they found out more, determined that Norris had a legitimate reason to be driving erratically, at least from the point Shea displayed the gun.

They also discovered that Shea didn’t have a concealed weapons permit, as is required in order to have a loaded gun in a car. This summer, Shea’s attorney told The Spokesman-Review that Shea’s gun wasn’t loaded.

But Shea signed his name in a court document in December under a statement that said that “defendant stipulates to the accuracy and admissibility of the police reports.” Police reports indicate that the gun was loaded. Kennedy showed Shea the law and discussed it with him, the police reports say.

“After, we verbally discussed having a loaded hand gun in his vehicle, with no concealed weapons permit and how Matt was in violation of this law,” Kennedy wrote in her report. “Matt never once disputed the violation. He became fearful in the face and had a hard time talking after discussing the violation. His mouth became very dry (cotton mouth), as we discussed it further. It was obvious he was nervous and when he shook my hand after the interview his hand was clammy with sweat, which confirmed my impression of him being nervous/fearful.”

Officers suggested that Shea also face a second charge for displaying a gun in a way that created alarm for the safety of other people.

“This is clearly shown by the victim’s belief it was an emergent necessity to avoid and maneuver around the defendant, and attempt to get away from the defendant, in the manner in which he did,” Kennedy wrote.

The city prosecutor’s office, however, stuck to one charge.

Shea told officers he pulled the gun out of his glove compartment and placed it on his seat. He told police that he felt he was being targeted for his work and said that a year earlier someone shot out the rear window of the car his wife was driving on the freeway.

Blaming the media

Shea has complained about media coverage of the incident. At a gathering last month of the Republicans of Spokane County, Shea said The Spokesman-Review has treated him unfairly.

“They specifically didn’t report that this guy came across four lanes of traffic and that the independent witnesses â€" two â€" said that this was unprovoked.”

The police report only includes one independent witness. That witness said Norris was “horribly aggressive, like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

But Kennedy said that witness’s testimony isn’t contradictory since Norris admitted to much of the behavior. She also questioned why Shea continued to follow Norris to 14th Avenue after writing down his license plate number about 10 blocks earlier if he truly was threatened by him.

Shea told the Republicans of Spokane County that Norris tried “to run into the side of my truck. I swerve. He pulls in front of my truck and stops in the middle of traffic and looks like he is getting out. It is a classic scenario where you reach, pull your gun out and prepare to defend yourself and everybody else around you. This is in the police report that the witnesses said that this was unprovoked.”

Norris admitted that he slammed on his brakes in hopes of Shea hitting his car in an effort to disable Shea’s pickup. Norris told police that he did so in an effort to get away after Shea pulled out the gun. Police reports include no language suggesting that Norris appeared to be about to exit his vehicle.

On his Facebook page, Shea lists an unnamed “fourth witness,” who he claims has made a sworn affidavit related to the incident.

That person is not in police reports, and it’s unclear how this witness may have been involved.

Limits of justice - The Spokesman Review

September 19, 2012 in City
Abuse case resolution can’t erase years of church inaction

ShawnVestal

Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

Steve O’Connor, of Spokane, gathers his thoughts Monday after talking about the events of his life. O’Connor, who was sexually abused as a boy in a Seattle Catholic school, recently won an $8 million judgment from a King County jury.
(Full-size photo)

Everybody knew. Nobody did anything.

That’s what emerges again and again throughout the long, heart-wrenching story of Steve O’Connor, his extensive abuse at the hands of a Catholic-school teacher, and the decades of denial that shrouded it all â€" starting when he was in seventh grade and extending to a recent $8 million jury verdict, among the largest of its kind.

“How many times am I going to hear that everybody knew about it?” asks O’Connor, a 63-year-old retired policeman living in Spokane. “I guess the rest of my life, I’m going to hear, ‘We all knew about it. Everybody knew about it.’ ”

O’Connor recalls his 1950s childhood in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle as something out of Norman Rockwell.

“All the women were homemakers,” he said. “All the dads worked during the day. Every family had one car. Every family had six, eight, 10 kids. And everybody went to St. Benedict’s.”

And one of the routines for every sixth-grade class at St. Benedict school was the annual division into two seventh-grade classes â€" one taught by a nun, the other by lay teacher Daniel Adamson. O’Connor said Adamson â€" a man with a fearsome reputation for the paddle â€" would enter the sixth-grade classrooms and select his students.

“He would hand-pick,” O’Connor said. “He would go around in the sixth grade and put his hand on your desk.”

As a sixth-grader, O’Connor was chosen. The following year, Adamson began to give O’Connor small classroom responsibilities, and gradually larger ones. He was one of “Adamson’s boys,” and that came with certain perks, including visits to Adamson’s basement â€" a legendary spot among the other students, complete with an elaborate train set.

But being Adamson’s boy had horrific consequences, O’Connor said. Between 1962 and 1964, Adamson raped O’Connor regularly, at his home, at the school, in the church, in motel rooms. O’Connor describes the nature of the abuse as “terrible, unbelievable and horrific.”

From the start, O’Connor told people about it.

“I told a lot of people,” he said. “And I told them in deep detail.”

First, he told his pastor and assistant pastor in the confessional. On another occasion, he was called into the principal’s office and questioned about the horseplay in the schoolyard known as “goose-fighting” â€" when boys would grab each other in the crotch.

“I blurted out, ‘We learned that from Mr. Adamson. He does that all the time,’ ” he said.

The principal didn’t seem very curious about that, O’Connor said. In a later meeting with his pastor, O’Connor went further, telling him in detail about the abuse.

“His general response was: ‘You’re a liar,’ ” O’Connor said.

Two other men testified during a King County trial this year that they’d had similar experiences, telling the Rev. Henry Conrad, a priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, about abuse at the hands of Adamson and being ignored.

By the time he reached his sophomore year in high school, O’Connor had put a stop to the sexual abuse. The relationship exploded into a physical confrontation at Adamson’s house; the teacher kicked the boy, hard, between the legs, severely injuring O’Connor’s testicle. He was hospitalized and recuperated at home for several weeks. When he returned to school, he discovered that, again, nothing had happened to Adamson.

When he was a junior, O’Connor decided to tell his father. His father â€" a “pay, pray, obey” Catholic â€" told him he’d look into it. And then, again, nothing. O’Connor blew up: He gave away his clothing and his car, dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Marines.

“That didn’t get anybody’s attention either, so â€" end of story. Wound up in the jungle,” he said.

O’Connor served in the Marines in Vietnam from 1966 to 1969. He was injured twice and contracted a case of malaria.

Dan Adamson, meanwhile, was promoted to school principal.

O’Connor returned from Vietnam, worked as a military police officer for a few years, and then moved on. He married a woman he’d known since childhood, and they raised four children.

Did it haunt him, those experiences? Did it shadow his life?

“I felt I had a very unique blocking system,” he said. “Whenever those thoughts would enter my mind … I could block it.”

O’Connor crossed his forearms as he said this, as though he were physically blocking an opponent.

“I had to totally block the whole thing,” he said. “Just exactly like I was able to block Vietnam.”

O’Connor and his wife moved to Spokane about 10 years ago, after his retirement from police work. They attended St. Thomas More Catholic Church and participated in parish activities. Several years ago, he was “dragged, literally kicking and screaming” to a hundred-year celebration of St. Benedict with his wife and a friend. Adamson died years ago; O’Connor wondered how his memory would be handled.

“There was just no mention of the guy,” he said. “No pictures of him. His name wasn’t on the classroom where they listed the seventh-grade teachers â€" his name wasn’t on there. Not a word.”

O’Connor revisited some of spots in the school where some of the worst abuse had occurred: the school’s projection booth, the area underneath the auditorium stairs, the boys’ bathroom. In the bathroom was the same tile, the same radiator, the same cracked sinks, the same stalls.

“I was back in 1962,” he said. “I was just â€" zoom â€" right back there.”

He decided he would try again to tell the story. That meant starting with his wife, who had grown up right down the street from him and attended St. Benedict, too.

“Needless to say,” O’Connor said, “she wasn’t surprised.”

O’Connor contacted Seattle attorney Michael Pfau, who’s represented scores of sex abuse victims in Washington cases, including the multimillion-dollar claims against the Diocese of Spokane. O’Connor filed a complaint against the Archdiocese of Seattle, which ran St. Benedict school, and the Oblate Fathers of Western Province.

The Archdiocese quickly agreed to mediate the case and settled for $500,000. The Oblates fought. At trial, the defense team dragged out a laundry list of O’Connor’s traumatic experiences from Vietnam and his service as a police officer, all to cast doubt on his credibility, to spread responsibility for his trauma, to muddy the water, Pfau said.

Attorneys for the Oblates argued during trial that the statute of limitations had run out on the crimes, and that others were primarily responsible. A message seeking comment from the order was not returned.

In July, a King County jury awarded O’Connor $8 million. It was one of the largest awards in a sexual abuse case in state history; it was lowered to $6.4 million because two other orders were also found partially responsible.

O’Connor is well aware what some defenders of the faith say about cases like his: He did it for the money. He says he did it for the justice.

“He is not the guy who’s looking for $8 million,” Pfau said. “He settled with the Seattle Archdiocese for $500,000 â€" and I, as his lawyer, told him not to.”

His whole life, Steve O’Connor was a Catholic. Before, during and after the years that he was raped as a child â€" Catholic. Before, during and after the years that his repeated abuse was ignored by every adult around him â€" Catholic.

But O’Connor came to feel betrayed, not just by his teacher and childhood priest, but by a churchwide system of denial and ignoring and victim-blaming.

“I stopped ever, ever being a Catholic,” he said. “I don’t want any part of it, ever again, as long as I live.”

Shawn Vestal can be reached at (509) 459-5431 or shawnv@spokesman.com. Follow him on Twitter at @vestal13.