Lawsuit Shines "Spotlight" on Diocese of New Ulm Causing Childhood Friend to Speak Publicly For First Time
By Patrick Noaker
Noaker Law Firm
March 16, 2016
Noaker Law Firm LLC 333 Washington Ave. N. #329 Minneapolis, MN 55401 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Diocese exposed children to predator priest at Church of St. Joseph in Silver Lake (New Ulm, Minnesota - March 6, 2016) A Minnesota man has filed suit against the Diocese of New Ulm and Holy Family Parish in Silver Lake stemming from child sexual abuse perpetrated by Father Michael Skoblik at Church of St. Joseph, which merged into Holy Family parish in 1993.
Click Here for Complaint Filed with Brown County District Court "We filed suit to shine a spotlight on the horrific violations of a known pedophile priest," said Attorney Patrick Noaker, alluding to the academy award winning movie, "Spotlight", about the Boston Archdiocese sexual abuse crisis. "The failure of church leadership happened here, just as it did in Boston. The problem is systemic." The suit describes Skoblik forcing the child under threat of violence to "perform oral sex upon Fr. Skoblik." Skoblik also performed "masochistic acts upon Plaintiff." Some of the abuse "occurred while Plaintiff was a student at St. Joseph's Catholic School, during school hours." According to the lawsuit, the Diocese took no steps to "discover the specific nature of Fr. Skoblik's problems or to determine whether he was fit to work with children," despite clear indications of danger. Skoblik worked for the Diocese of New Ulm from 1940 through 1989.
This lawsuit has caused a childhood friend of John Doe 122, James Hlavka, who is also suing the Diocese of New Ulm relating to sexual abuse by Fr. Skoblik using John Doe 116, to speak publicly for the first time. "When I filed my lawsuit, I still felt shame and fear from the sexual abuse. Now, I realize that I was just a kid when this happened and it is the Diocese of New Ulm and Fr. Skoblik who should be ashamed," explained Hlavka. "I am here to support my childhood friend and to force the Diocese of New Ulm to be accountable for the many boys who were sexually abused in our small Silver Lake parish."
James Hlavka is available for a telephone interview. Contact Patrick Noaker to coordinate an interview. "Our client is fortunate he came forward before the May 25, 2016 deadline," said Lee James, a nationally known attorney working with Patrick Noaker and constitutional expert Professor Marci Hamilton. "Minnesota's Child Victim Act opened a window of time for adult survivors of child sexual abuse to bring their claims," explained Professor Hamilton. "That window will close on May 25th. Our team, called Hamilton James, is helping survivors meet that deadline." Hamilton James is a three-firm team of attorneys and staff who have devoted resources to assist abuse survivors. It has filed other cases involving Skoblik and is asking anyone with information on Skoblik or other Priests believed to have harmed children to call.