Diocese Settles Lawsuit over 1970s Molestation Claim

By Jennifer Gerrietts
Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, SD)
June 26, 1999

A lawsuit by a man who claimed he was molested as a child by a priest with the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese has settled out of court.

Kurt Brick, 43, who attended O'Gorman High School in the 1970s, filed a lawsuit in 1995 accusing former priest William Neuroth of sexually abusing him for years. Both Neuroth and the diocese were named in the suit.

Jerry Klein, a spokesman for the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese, said everyone in-volved in the case agreed to keep the settlement confidential. However, he said church officials offer counseling in potential sexual-abuse cases. Klein said he thinks that was done in this case.

"We really try and invite anyone who is the victim of abuse to come forward," Klein said. "We want to work with them."

Neither Brick or Neuroth could be reached for comment.

Klein said the diocese urges anyone who believes they have been victims of abuse by Catholic clergy to contact Bishop Robert Carlson in Sioux Falls and allow the church to help provide counseling.

"We know a lot more about abuse than we did years ago," Klein said. "It's contrary to what Jesus Christ stands for, and it's contrary to what we stand for."

Neuroth was suspended from his duties at a Flandreau church in 1994. Klein said Neuroth no longer is recognized as a priest, after completing a process to have his status changed by Catholic officials.

The boy enrolled at the Sioux Falls school in 1970. He said Neuroth also did his school work and gave him money, new cars, gifts and trips.

The lawsuit says that Brick's family pleaded with diocese officials to stop Neuroth from contacting Brick, but the diocese did not supervise or control the priest. As an adult, Brick was treated for psychological conditions that he said resulted from the abuse.

Affidavits filed in the civil lawsuit state that a man who lives in California claims that Neuroth molested him in the 1960s. The man says he had sex with the priest from his preteen years through his college years.


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