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New Ulm Diocese seeks dismissal of nuisance claim

Demands names of priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors

January 7, 2014
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - An attorney for the Diocese of New Ulm asked for the dismissal of a nuisance claim in a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct involving two female minors by deceased diocese priest the Rev. David Roney Monday in Brown County District Court.

The nuisance claim, part of a lawsuit filed Sept. 12, 2013 by attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul, demands disclosure of the names of priests of the diocese who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors reported to the John Jay Report, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, based on surveys done by Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States from 1950 to 2002.

Hearing arguments for and against dismissal of the nuisance motion filed by Anderson, Judge Robert Docherty said he would rule on the case as soon as possible.

Waite Park attorney Thomas Wieser, representing the Diocese of New Ulm, said case law suggests the accusation that the Diocese of New Ulm's inability to notify the public of the names of two priests whose names were reported to the John Jay Study "didn't satisfy the burden of proof." He did not list the names of priests accused of molesting children at the hearing.

On Dec. 30, 2013 in Brown County District Court, attorneys for the two priests, one retired, the other still working in the diocese, filed for separate motions for temporary restraining orders seeking to prohibit the diocese from making their names public, claiming sexual abuse allegations against them are false.

Anderson pointed to the mental and emotional distress, suffering, depression, anxiety and anger of survivors who are "uniquely suffering for not knowing who the priests on the secret list that should be disclosed in its entirety."

"Every day this list is out there and not disclosed causes suffering," Anderson said. "The thought of offenses continuing to this day compels us to do this. Why are they still fighting this. Why? Why? Why?"

Similar efforts have resulted in the release of lists held by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Winona Diocese, the St. Cloud Diocese and St. John's Abbey following court orders or the day after motions were filed, Anderson said.

Roney served as pastor at five parishes in the Diocese of New Ulm. They were St. John Assumption, Faxon Township, 1957-1958; St. Paul's, Walnut Grove, 1958 to 1963; Church of St. Gregory the Great, Lafayette, 1980 to 1993. He died Jan. 27, 2003 at age 82.

Anyone who suffered sexual abuse or exploitation by a priest, deacon, or pastoral administrator of the Diocese of New Ulm is asked to report it to local law enforcement and to contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator or Bishop's Delegate in Matters Pertaining to Sexual Misconduct, 1400 6th St. North, New Ulm, MN 56073. Phone 507-359-2966 for counseling or assistance.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

 
 

 

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