UPDATE: Attorney blasts reinstatement of Dilworth-Hawley priest accused of sexually abusing teen


December 27, 2017

By Dave Olson

CROOKSTON, Minn. — An attorney representing a man who claims a Catholic priest sexually abused him as a teen expressed outrage Wednesday, Dec. 27, that the Crookston Diocese has reinstated the priest as pastor of the Dilworth and Hawley parishes.

The diocese announced on Tuesday, Dec. 26, that Father Patrick Sullivan resumed his priestly duties at St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Dilworth and St. Andrew’s Parish in Hawley. Sullivan had been placed on administrative leave after the abuse allegations surfaced in 2016.

The diocese said it had concluded that allegations of wrongdoing by Sullivan were unfounded.

The alleged victim’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, said a lawsuit would be filed sometime Wednesday relating to allegations involving Sullivan and a minor.

“The decision by the diocese and Bishop (Michael) Hoeppner to return Father Sullivan to ministry while the lawsuit is pending is reckless, because Father Sullivan poses a threat of harm to children,” Anderson said in a written statement.

Anderson also claimed that prior to allegations being made against Sullivan, the church possessed information that Sullivan posed a serious risk. “We believe Sullivan is still a risk to children and should not be reinstated,” Anderson said in the statement.

The diocese said Sullivan was placed on leave in April 2016 after the diocese was served with a civil complaint through Anderson’s office.

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