WW II Law Helps Man Abused by Clergy
By Ken Speake
March 20, 2006
A law dating back to World War II has been successfully use to sue the Catholic church for clergy abuse.
"It was the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act, enacted during World War II," said attorney Jeff Anderson.
Anderson, a Saint Paul attorney who handles charges of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic Priests, was announcing how he had helped a man sue the Catholic Church Religious Order, The Dominicans, for sexual abuse suffered by his client nearly 30 years ago.
"That case survived and was able to be brought to resolution largely," said attorney Anderson, "because that survivor has been in the military long enough where the statute of limitations did not prevent him from gaining a measure of justice."
The case, scheduled to go to trial March 20, was settled late the prior week when the Dominicans, who operate Saint Albert's The Great Catholic Church at in south Minneapolis, agreed to pay Jeff Anderson's client $450,000 plus past therapy costs.
The settlement came, according to attorney Anderson, because he had records that then priest Edmund Frost, minister at Saint Albert's in 1978, had given the then 13-year old alcohol and marijuana and forced him into oral sex and abused him several times.
Two men, not part of the settled lawsuit, sat to attorney Anderson's right.
"These men, Rod and Mark Jenniges, were also abused by Edmund Frost," he said.
The brothers had sued the same order. Their suit was thrown out because they'd waited too long to sue. Neither of them had been in the military long enough for the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act to help them.
Rod Jenniges talked about how the abuse started, "They'd feed us a few drinks basically, a lotta times."
"That's where it would start. Then it would be play, fondling and kissing and it... it... it was different."
Jenniges wiped his face.
"It's tough to think about it," he said.
"How are you able to come forth now?" asked the reporter.
"I guess I'm just sick and tired of it... the way I got treated... me and my brother got treated... that there's people out there that I'm willing to stand up behind. If they gotta be 'John Doe,' be John Doe, but dammit, I'm tired of it and churches have to be accountable, and they're not," said Rod Jenniges.
Edmund Frost is now deceased.
Rod Jenniges says he continues to be haunted by memories of the abuse.
The Dominican's Provincial, Michael Mascari, headquartered in Chicago, declined to comment about the case.
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