Bishop Removes Accused Priest
St. Cloud Times
October 13, 2015
|Rev. Tony Marfori|
Bishop Donald Kettler has removed the priestly faculties of an Elk River priest who was accused Tuesday in a civil lawsuit of sexually abusing a former Cathedral High School student nearly 40 years ago.
The Rev. Anthony (Tony) Marfori is one of three defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed by a student who accuses Marfori of abusing him in the late 1970s when the student was 15 and attending Cathedral. The Diocese of St. Cloud and Cathedral High School are the other defendants.
The diocese said the lawsuit is the first time it has heard of sexual abuse allegations against Marfori, who is a "sacramental minister" at St. Andrew Parish in Elk River. The allegations have been reported to law enforcement, according to a statement from the diocese.
The removal of priestly faculties means that Marfori can't function or present himself as a priest while the allegation is investigated. Marfori had been assisting the pastor of St. Andrew in an agreement between Marfori and the Elk River parish, the statement said.
Kettler didn't assign Marfori to the Elk River parish, according to the statement. Kettler has also notified the Diocesan Review Board about the allegation.
Marfori also has been removed from a parish house owned by St. Andrew and will live at a residence owned by the diocese in St. Cloud during the investigation.
Marfori was assigned to St. Mary's Cathedral in 1979-80, when the abuse is alleged to have occurred, according to Jeffrey Anderson, who is representing the man suing Marfori.
Marfori, who is a native of the Phillipines, has had sabbaticals and assignments outside the diocese that are concerning, Anderson said.
The gravest concern is that he's not on the list of diocese priests who are credibly accused, Anderson said.
Anderson said he received a second report within the last 10 days from a second man claiming abuse at the same time by Marfori. He said that Marfori took him on a trip and molested him, claiming it to be the "Filipino way," Anderson said.
Kettler said he would conduct listening sessions in the areas where Marfori previously served. Kettler recently has conducted listening sessions, and Anderson said he has "touted" that the diocese has been doing better.
"This is evidence that they are not doing better," Anderson said of the Marfori allegations. "This is the old way, this is the dangerous way."
The lawsuit requests that the diocese release all files of clerics accused of sexual abuse. Failure to release that information means that "children are at risk of being sexually molested," the lawsuit reads.
The complaint also alleges that the diocese is violating common law and statutes regarding nuisance. That civil claim has been dismissed by some courts and upheld by others.
It essentially accuses the diocese of being an ongoing threat for failing to disclose the offenders and their offenses and allowing them to live freely in the community without the public's knowledge. In cases there the nuisance claims have been sustained, it has led to religious orders having to turn over volumes of information and priest files.
Follow David Unze on Twitter @sctimesunze or call him at 255-8740.
Marfori work history
Rev. Anthony (Tony) Marfori was ordained Oct. 7, 1978 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud. He has served the following assignments: part-time associate, St. Francis Xavier, Sartell, and part-time instructor (later instructor and assistant chaplain), Cathedral High School, St. Cloud, 1978-1980; associate pastor, St. Paul, Sauk Centre, 1980-1984; post-graduate studies, 1984-1985; pastor, St. Agnes, Roscoe, 1985-1993; pastor, St. Margaret, Lake Henry (while continuing at St. Agnes), 1987-1993; pastor, St. Pius X, Zimmerman, 1993-2007; pastor, St. Anne, Kimball, 2007-2008; canonical administrator, St. Elizabeth, Brennyville, SS. Peter and Paul, Gilman, and St. Joseph, Morrill, 2008-2010; Leave of absence (medical), 2010.