|Archdiocese Denies Helping Priest to Flee, As Alleged in Lawsuit
By Brady Gervais and Kevin Harter
September 10, 2008
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis this afternoon denied helping a priest accused of molesting a child while working in Minnesota flee the country, as alleged in a lawsuit filed today in Ramsey County District Court.
Fr. Francisco Montero, also known as Francisco "Fredy" Montero Monar, used his position to coerce and manipulate the child into having sexual contact with him around February and March 2007, according to the lawsuit. The child attended the Church of the Incarnation in Minneapolis, where the priest taught her how to pray and counseled her on spiritual matters.
The lawsuit, which seeks $50,000 in damages, also alleges that the Diocese of Guaranda in Ecuador, which ordained Montero, "knew or should reasonably have known of Montero's dangerous and exploitative propensities" of a child sexual abuser. And that the Twin Cities Archdiocese allowed Montero to flee the country.
The child is not named in the complaint.
Calling the lawsuit's charges "sensationalized," the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said it reported the abuse accusation to Minneapolis police when it found out about it more than a year ago, and noted no charges were ever filed.
"Archdiocesan officials had absolutely no role in the priest's departure to his home country of Ecuador," a statement from the local Catholic church said.
The child's mother admitted to having an affair with the priest, the Archdiocese said. And after the allegations of the affair and the molestation accusation were noted to the priest's bishop in Ecuador, Montero was recalled to his home country. With no pending charges, Montero was free to go, said church officials, who added they contacted police.
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