Former Newsboy Sues St. Paul Archdiocese, Alleging Abuse by Priest in "50s

By Emily Gurnon
Pioneer Press
June 17, 2014

The Cathedral of St. Paul, from Dayton Avenue looking to the south and east, in March 2011. (Pioneer Press: Chris Polydoroff)

A Minnesota man befriended by a priest when he delivered newspapers to the church rectory as a boy has sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of New Ulm alleging sexual abuse.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, identified as John Doe 109, said the Rev. William J. Marks of St. John's Church in Hector, Minn., sexually abused him in the 1950s.

His family was poor, and Marks would pay the boy for oral sex and other sexual acts, the plaintiff claimed in the suit filed Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court.

"Father Marks was pretty free with them $20 bills," he is quoted as saying in the lawsuit. Marks would also take the boy out to eat at a restaurant where the boy's mother worked, leaving her big tips.

"Plaintiff's mother thought Father Marks was the 'nicest guy in the world' " and believed she could trust him, according to the lawsuit.

Marks died in 1979.

During his time as a priest, he also worked in Hastings, Tyler and Green Valley, Minn.

Others have also accused Marks of abusing boys. Last year, another man sued, also alleging Marks molested him in Hector. Bob Schwiderski, the state director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said he is one of 27 victims he calls the "Boys of Hector" who reported abuse to officials of either the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis or the Diocese of New Ulm, which formed in 1958 in a geographical area previously covered by the archdiocese.

Schwiderski, along with three other former altar boys, sued the New Ulm Diocese in 1994. He settled out of court.

New lawsuits are being filed on old cases because of a 2013 state law that created a three-year window for civil lawsuits by victims of child abuse.

Neither the Twin Cities archdiocese nor the Diocese of New Ulm responded immediately Tuesday to requests for comment.









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