Questions and answers about Minnesota church abuse settlement

Star Tribune

Article by: JAMES NORD , Associated Press Updated: October 13, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Ramsey County judge dismissed a groundbreaking clergy abuse case after victims’ attorneys and Catholic church leadership in St. Paul and Winona came to a settlement on Monday. Some questions and answers about the case:


Attorneys representing victims of abuse and Catholic church leaders in Minnesota settled what appears to be unprecedented litigation regarding allegations of clergy abuse and whether the church’s withholding of information represented a public nuisance. St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson’s firm filed the lawsuit in May 2013 under a state law that temporarily opened up the statute of limitations for victims of past sexual abuse, which in this case was said to have occurred in 1976 and 1977 in St. Paul Park, Minn.


Details are private because the victim, identified as Doe 1, didn’t want them disclosed. Victims’ attorneys and church officials, though, outlined 17 “Child Protection Protocols.” Some of those include adopting a whistleblower policy about reporting abuse, making available documents regarding a substantiated claim of sexual abuse, continuing to disclose those claims and not moving forward with any internal investigations until police inquiries are closed or law enforcement authorizes such an investigation.


Anderson and church officials touted the settlement and new protective policies as a way to cut down on lawsuits and instead work together. Victims said the new policies would help protect childrenin the future, and church officials apologized for their missteps. The settlement heads off a November trial that would have tested Anderson’s argument that Minnesota Catholic officials created a public nuisance by withholding information about an abusive priest from parishioners.

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