|La Jarvis D. Love is photographed in his home in Senatobia, Miss., Sunday, June 9, 2019. Love says he was sexually abused by a Franciscan friar at a Catholic grade school in Greenwood. (Photo: Wong Maye-E / Associated Press)|
The IHOP in Southhaven, Mississippi, was an unlikely place to settle a sex abuse claim against a Catholic priest. But in January, the leader of the Franciscan community in suburban Milwaukee slid into a booth across from a 35-year-old victim and offered to pay $15,000 in exchange for silence about years of alleged abuse by another friar.
Father James G. Gannon, provincial minister for the Franciscan friars based in Franklin, arrived at the crowded pancake house with copies of a legal settlement for La Jarvis D. Love, who had arrived with his wife and three young children.
As La Jarvis skimmed the four-page agreement, his thoughts flickered back more than two decades to the physical and sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of an Appleton native who taught at a Catholic grade school in Greenwood, Mississippi. He told Gannon he wasn't sure $15,000 was enough.
"He said if I wanted more, I would have to get a lawyer and have my lawyer call his lawyer," La Jarvis told the Associated Press. "Well, we don't have lawyers. We felt like we had to take what we could."