Lawsuit Alleges Abuse by Priest

Associated Press State & Local Wire
July 19, 2004

Five women have filed a lawsuit against the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese and a retired priest who they say sexually abused them 40 years ago.

The women, who are not identified in the lawsuit, said the abuse occurred from 1961 to 1963 when they were growing up in the Yankton and Platte areas.

Named as defendants are the Sioux Falls diocese and the Rev. Bruce MacArthur, who has not served a parish in South Dakota since 1973 and retired in 1992. His last known residence was in the Texas-New Mexico area.

"The diocese of Sioux Falls knew or should have known that children who were raised in the Roman Catholic church would be obedient to MacArthur's demands because reverence and obedience to the parish priest is a requirement of that religion," the lawsuit says.

In a statement, the diocese said: "We are aware of these victims and have been working with some of them to support them through obviously difficult and painful challenges from abuse incurred 40 years ago. It is always the prerogative of a person to seek additional answers through our legal system. We will certainly follow through as this unfolds."

A Florida woman filed a lawsuit in May 2003 alleging MacArthur molested her from about 1965 to 1970 when she was a child living in Wisconsin and he was on leave from the Sioux Falls diocese.

Shortly after that lawsuit was filed, Bishop Robert Carlson said the Sioux Falls diocese had records of six abuse allegations against MacArthur, now in his 80s.


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