New Clergy Abuse Lawsuit Names St. Louis Archbishop and Twin Cities Priest
By Tony Kennedy
October 29, 2013
[documents and photographs]
The lawsuit alleges a priest abused a second-grade girl in West St. Paul after being transferred to her parish following another abuse case.
The sitting archbishop in St. Louis, Mo., took part in covering up a case of child sexual abuse in the Twin Cities when he was an assistant to then-Archbishop John Roach, attorneys for an alleged abuse victim said Tuesday after filing Minnesota’s latest clergy abuse lawsuit.
According to the complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court on behalf of “Doe 23,’’ the Rev. Robert Carlson was one of at least four prelates who were privy to a 1982 admission by the Rev. Robert Thurner that Thurner bought liquor for a 16-year-old boy and sexually abused him. The abuse was kept secret from parishioners at St. John the Evangelist in Hopkins, where Thurner was stationed, and from parents of children at St. Joseph’s church and school in West St. Paul, where Thurner was transferred the following year. Roach appointed him associate pastor at St. Joseph’s, with no restrictions.
In the 1984-85 school year, Thurner allegedly abused a girl who was 7 or 8 and in second grade, the lawsuit claims. St. Paul attorneys Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, who are representing the victim, said she silently carried the abuse with her until recently speaking to a friend about it.
“She had never told anyone in her life,’’ Finnegan said.
She had believed that she was Thurner’s only victim until recent publicity about priest sex abuse and alleged coverups by the archdiocese prompted her to Google his name. The Internet search showed her that Anderson had sued Thurner and the archdiocese in the early 1990s on behalf of two men who said Thurner abused them when they were young teens.