The Legal Examiner
Court Rules That Survivors’ Public Nuisance Claims Against Diocese of St. Cloud May Proceed
Posted by Mike Bryant
June 30, 2015
(St. Cloud, MN) – Stearns County District Court Judge Kris Davick-Halfen has ruled that a clergy sexual abuse survivor’s public nuisance claim against the Diocese of St. Cloud can proceed. Judge Davick-Halfen’s June 22, 2015, order will help hold the Diocese of St. Cloud accountable for protecting pedophile priests in the past and will help keep children safe in the future.
In 2014 the Diocese of St. Cloud released a list of 33 priests who worked in the Diocese who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The Diocese has not released files or documents pertaining to those priests or their patterns of grooming and abuse. Such information is necessary to educate the public about the threat and keep the public safe.
In January 2015, Plaintiff Doe 50 filed suit against the Diocese of St. Cloud, claiming that he was sexually abused as a child by Father James Thoennes (pronounced “Tennis”), a priest at St. John’s Parish and School in Foley, Minn., in the early 1970s. St. John’s is in the Diocese of St. Cloud.
“This ruling will allow us to bring this serious, ongoing problem in the Diocese of St. Cloud out into the light so that we can protect children in the future from going through the same harm that Doe 50 and many other kids like him had to endure as a result of the Diocese’s mishandling of abusive priests,” said Jeff Anderson, an attorney representing Doe 50.
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