Another Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Abuse from a Twin Cities Priest

October 29, 2013

[with video]

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Another victim came forward on Tuesday, alleging she was sexually abused by a Twin Cities Catholic clergy member.

St. Paul attorneys Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan announced a new lawsuit, claiming that the Rev. Robert Thurner sexually abused the woman, identified as Jane Doe 23, when she was a child in the 1984-85 school year.

The lawsuit also alleges that the archdiocese was negligent in allowing Thurner to continue to have access to children after he admitted to then-Archbishop Jon Roach that he sexually abused a 16-year-old boy and purchased alcohol for him in 1982.

“The archdiocese and its top officials made a choice — they chose to protect their own reputation and protect Father Thurner’s reputation rather than looking out for the well-being of a child,” Finnegan said.

Internal documents show church officials didn’t report Thurner to police, but rather transferred him to St. Joseph’s in West St. Paul, where he later allegedly abused the young girl upon a visit to her family’s home when she was in second grade.

It isn’t the first time Thurner has faced sexual abuse allegations. Finnegan said they knew of three previous victims from two prior lawsuits. Thurner was removed from his parish in 1991 after he was found guilty of sexually molesting a minor.

The woman in the lawsuit decided to come forward after she seen press of other victims coming forward in recent weeks.


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