Appeals Court Reinstates Omahan's Sex-Abuse Suit

By Todd Cooper
Omaha World Herald (Nebraska)
August 19, 2003

A federal appeals court has reinstated an Omaha man's sexual-abuse lawsuit against a South Dakota home for boys.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the Nebraskan, who was 14 at the time of the alleged abuse in 1965, could proceed with his lawsuit against the Sky Ranch for Boys in South Dakota but not against the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D.

The plaintiff alleges that the Rev. Donald Murray, director of the ranch, kidnapped and molested him in 1965 and 1966.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon had dismissed the lawsuit because it did not fall under Nebraska's jurisdiction.

But the 8th Circuit Court said the plaintiff's lawsuit falls under the long arm of Nebraska jurisdiction because it involves allegations that Murray flew into Nebraska, kidnapped the plaintiff, took him to a Wyoming ranch and assaulted him. The plaintiff alleges that he also was taken to a ranch in South Dakota.

The lawsuit alleges that Murray went so far as to call detention officials in Kearney, Neb., to tell them that he would personally pick up the plaintiff, who had been arrested in a stolen car.

The court, however, upheld Bataillon's decision to dismiss the claims against the Rapid City Diocese, saying it could not be called into court for the actions of the administrators of the boys home.


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