Lawsuit against St. Cloud Diocese Alleges Sexual Assault, Cover-Up

By Conrad Wilson
Minnesota Public Radio
December 13, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. A lawsuit filed Tuesday morning accuses a former Catholic church deacon of sexual assault and charges the St. Cloud Diocese with covering it up.

Michael W. Weber was named as the alleged abuser in a suit filed in Hennepin County District Court. The suit was filed on behalf of a man identified only by his first name, Terry.

The suit alleges that Weber sexually assaulted Terry during the summer of 1970.

"What brings us here years after the abuse is the cover up of it... And the failure of the Diocese officials ... to act," said Jeff Anderson, the attorney representing Terry.

The suit also charges the St. Cloud Diocese with fraud, saying officials knew Weber was a potential danger to children and tried to cover the incident up.

Anderson said the church should have reported Weber to police at the time.

"They chose to take a gamble," Anderson said. "The risk was that other kids could be hurt. But they chose instead to protect their reputation."

Last month, allegations surfaced that Weber was involved in sexual misconduct in the late 1960s while he was a deacon at the Church of the Holy Spirit in St. Cloud. The Diocese held a listening session earlier this month in response to what church officials say are credible allegations.

Neither Weber, nor his attorney responded to calls and emails for comment. The St. Cloud Diocese also did not respond to calls for comment.

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