New Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed against Diocese of Winona
By Jennie Lissarrague
January 5, 2016
A new lawsuit has been filed against the Diocese of Winona on behalf of a man who said he was abused by a priest in 1962.
The lawsuit says the victim, who was a parishioner and student at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School, was abused by the Rev. Richard Hatch when the victim was 13-14 years old.
The Hamilton James law group filed the lawsuit, which claims the Diocese of Winona acted negligently by exposing the victim to Hatch and for failing to properly supervise Hatch.
The lawsuit says the church had information that Hatch was a threat to children before he was transferred to St. Mary’s, citing a May 1964 letter from the chancellor of the Diocese of Winona that said, “Father Hatch was a problem here in our Diocese during the years of his service” and “was accused of many indiscretions and much imprudence.” The letter also called Hatch “a very disturbed man,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed under Minnesota's Child Victims Act, which allows victims to take legal action until May 25, 2016.