Man, St. Cloud Diocese Settle Lawsuit
By David Unze
St. Cloud Times
July 14, 2012
The St. Cloud diocese has settled a lawsuit with a man who accused a former deacon of sexually abusing him in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The lawsuit originally named the former deacon, Michael Weber, as a defendant, but Weber was dismissed from the lawsuit before it was settled. The lawsuit accusing Weber of abuse decades ago came after Weber had built a distinguished career in child protection in public and private agencies.
And it came after the St. Cloud diocese, at a Mass in the St. Cloud church where Weber used to serve as a deacon, called the allegations against Weber credible and scheduled listening sessions to address the issue.
The lawsuit, originally filed in Hennepin County, was transferred to Stearns County after Weber was dismissed as a defendant. Documents finalizing the settlement of the case were filed last week in Stearns County District Court. Terms of the settlement were not available.
The man who sued Weber, the diocese and Catholic Charities lives in the state of Virginia and was one of several who accused Weber of abuse dating to the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some of the abuse was said to have happened at Weber's family home in Foley.
Weber, a Foley native and St. John's University graduate, served in the diocese as a transitional deacon until April 1972. He then left and rose to high-ranking positions in agencies focused on protecting children from abuse and neglect.
Weber's career in child protection saw him attain jobs as director of Hennepin County Community Services and assistant commissioner for the state Department of Human Services. He also was associate director of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, director of the Program for the Community Protection of Children and chairman of the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect.
The sexual misconduct allegations against Weber were reported first in the Times in late November, and the diocese had a listening session in early December.
After the allegations surfaced, Weber resigned from several organizations, including as a board member of the Greater Twin Cities United Way. Earlier he had retired as president and CEO of Volunteers of America-Minnesota.
Weber and his attorney have not responded to numerous requests for comment about the allegations and lawsuit.