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  Archdiocese Says It's Immune from Suit

By Julio Ojeda-Zapata
Saint Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota)
January 13, 1995

The latest Minnesota sex-abuse court case involving a priest has an unusual twist: one of the defendants, the Twin Cities Catholic archdiocese, is insisting it had no legal control over the diocese where the abuse allegedly occurred and should not be named in a lawsuit.

The civil suit, filed Nov. 16 in Ramsey County District Court, alleges that the Rev. Reginald Krakovsky abused a young parishioner while he was assigned to the Holy Family Parish in Little Falls, Minn., from 1961 to 1964.

At least four other former parishioners have alleged abuse by Krakovsky and may join the lawsuit, attorney Marc Kurzman said Thursday.

The Little Falls parish was controlled by the Diocese of St. Cloud.

In naming the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as a defendant, Kurzman relies on a publication called The Catholic Fact Book. It describes dioceses as "suffragen sees" linked to an archdiocese, and says that an archdiocese and neighboring dioceses form "a province (with) several layers of leadership."

In a Jan. 5 letter to the archdiocese's attorneys, Kurzman said, "The Bishop's office in St. Cloud advised one of (my) attorneys that ... they were under the 'jurisdiction' of your client."

Attorneys for the archdiocese filed a motion Wednesday to have the action against their client dismissed.

The attorneys argue that "the archdiocese has never had any control or power of governance over the Diocese of St. Cloud or Holy Family parish." They have told Kurzman that he "grossly misinterpreted" passages in the Catholic Fact Book.

"The power of the (archbishop over dioceses) is strictly limited to vigilance over the teaching of faith and morals," they said in a Jan. 6 letter.

"Every diocese is separately incorporated and presided over by a chief executive officer, or bishop," Anderson said. "If the archdiocese says it had no legal responsibility over a priest (in the St. Cloud diocese), it is correct."

Krakovsky now lives in Florida, Kurzman said. The victim, identified in court documents as G.F., lives in Ramsey County.

 
 

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