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'In the name of God': Native American children endured years of sexual abuse at boarding schools

For decades, Catholic priests, brothers and sisters raped or molested Native American children who were taken from their homes by the U.S. government and forced to live at remote boarding schools, a Post investigation found.

Clarita Vargas was 8 when she was forced to live at St. Mary's Mission, a Catholic-run Indian boarding school in Omak, Wash., that was created under a U.S. government policy to strip Native American children of their identities. A priest took her and other girls to his office to watch a TV movie, then groped and fondled her as she sat on his lap - the beginning of three years of sexual abuse, she said.

"It haunted me my entire life," said Vargas, now 64.

Jay, a 70-year-old member of the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes whose surname is not being used to protect his privacy, was sent to St. Paul Mission and Boarding School in Hays, Mont. When he was 11, Jay said, a Jesuit brother raped him in a shack next to the pine grove where the priests cut down Christmas trees.

"He said if I ever told anybody that I would go to hell," Jay recalled.


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