Suit Says St. Luke Clergy Treatment Center Failed to Protect Victims
By Tony Kennedy
November 19, 2013
Tuesday’s lawsuit claims prominent clergy treatment center and archdiocese concealed threat to minors.
Lawyers filed suit Tuesday morning in St. Paul against a Catholic-run treatment facility that cared for an abusive priest who then was sent to a new parish where he allegedly targeted a 10-year-old boy for years of repeated abuse.
Jeff Anderson, the St. Paul attorney who filed the suit on behalf of “Doe 27,” said it is the first lawsuit under Minnesota’s new Child Victims Act to name St. Luke Institute as a defendant. The facility in Silver Spring, Md., has been a popular destination for the treatment of Minnesota Catholic monks and priests who have been accused of sexual abuse of children, other sexual misconduct and addiction. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville are also being sued on behalf of Doe 27.
Coupled with a separate sexual abuse lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of a victim of another priest, the archdiocese has been sued at least 21 times since the Child Victims Act lifted the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases and gave past victims a three-year window to bring previously barred claims.
Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for St. Luke Institute, said she had not seen the lawsuit and had no immediate comment. The archdiocese could not be reached immediately for comment.
According to the latest complaint, the Rev. Francis Hoefgen, now 63, openly admitted to police in Cold Spring, Minn., that he sexually abused a 17-year-old boy while assigned to St. Boniface of Cold Spring in 1983. Then-Abbot Jerome Theisen, who was in charge of monks and priests from St. John’s Abbey, learned of the abuse in March 1984 and directed him to St. Luke’s, where he resided for about six months.