Lawsuit Alleges Child Sex Abuse by Golden Valley Priest in 1962
By Emily Gurnon
December 16, 2013
|Thomas Adamson |
A man who alleges he was sexually abused by a priest at a Golden Valley church around 1962 has sued the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
The plaintiff, identified as John Doe 108, served as an altar boy at the Church of St. Margaret Mary when Rudolph Henrich was the priest there, according to the suit filed Monday in Ramsey County District Court.
Henrich sexually assaulted the child by sliding his hands down the boy's pants and fondling him, the lawsuit said.
"Such abuse happened at report card time when Fr. Henrich would have the kids sit on his lap to go over their report cards," according to the suit.
At the time, the boy was 10 or 11 years old, the suit said.
Henrich is not named as a defendant in the suit; he died in 1992.
|The Rev. Rudolph Henrich (Courtesy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)|
Today's lawsuit is the first to include allegations involving him.
But another Twin Cities man, Frank Meuers, spoke out in October against the archdiocese, saying Henrich abused him in the 1950s and 1960s at St. Margaret Mary. Officials knew and did nothing, he said.
Meuers, 74, of Plymouth, said he wrote to an archdiocese official in November 2010, disclosing abuse by Henrich.
Kevin McDonough, then vicar general of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, wrote back on Aug. 29, 2011. He said he was the archdiocesan official who 20 years earlier, in 1991, had begun "to respond to the abuse committed by Rudolph Henrich." Henrich died in July 1992, months after McDonough became involved.
Meuers had not filed a lawsuit and is not the plaintiff in the Monday lawsuit, said John Doe 108's attorney, Patrick Noaker.
New lawsuits are being filed on old cases because of a 2013 Minnesota law, the Child Victims Act, that creates a three-year window for filing civil lawsuits by victims of child abuse.
The archdiocese included Henrich on a list released Dec. 5 of 34 priests "credibly accused" of child sexual abuse.
In addition to St. Margaret Mary, he worked at St. James in St. Paul, St. Mark in Shakopee, the State Training School for Boys in Red Wing and St. Boniface in Stewart, Minn.
Noaker said the parishioners of St. Margaret Mary "deserve to hear the full story about Father Henrich."
Beyond his inclusion on the list, archdiocese officials have not said what they knew about him and when, Noaker said. They also have not explained why they allowed him to continue working at the church.
"The list that they released is not the end," Noaker said. "There were kids put at risk over the years -- this kid being one of them -- as a result of having these pedophiles in their parishes, and they didn't take any action to get them out. That's what this lawsuit is about."
James Accurso, spokesman for the archdiocese, said he was not aware of the lawsuit and would comment after reviewing it with his superiors.
Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522. Follow her at twitter.com/emilygurnon.