Diocese confirms number of new sexual abuse claims

By Stephanie Dickrell
St. Cloud Times
May 29, 2016

Attorney Jeffrey Anderson holds pictures of the former Rev. Anthony Marfori at a news conference March 16 announcing a second lawsuit against Marfori, who used to teach at Cathedral High School. The Diocese of St. Cloud on Sunday released a list of all clergy who have been accused in lawsuits under the Minnesota Child Victims Act.
Photo by Kimm Anderson

Bishop Donald J. Kettler

Bishop Donald Kettler asked for the prayers of area Catholics on Sunday as the Diocese of St. Cloud issued a statement confirming the number of sexual abuse claims made against it.

On Wednesday, May 25, a three-year window closed that temporarily lifted the civil statute of limitations on allegations of sexual abuse of minors in Minnesota.

A total of 74 claims were made against the diocese, according to the statement.

The statements name 31 members of the clergy who served in the diocese. Out of the 131 parishes in the diocese, 30 were named in the claims.

The diocese had been served with less than a dozen cases in the Child Victims Act window before Monday.

The claims are related to abuse alleged to have happened many years ago, according to the statement. In most cases, it was several decades ago.

The claims do not involve anyone who is currently in parish ministry, the diocese said.

The statement came with a list of clergy named in the suits. Many of the same names had been released in 2014 by the diocese when Kettler said a review of records showed "clergy identified, to date, who were likely involved in the sexual abuse of minors.” But some named in 2014 are not the subject of the lawsuits, and 11 clergy named in suits were not on the 2014 list.

Kettler asked parishioners to pray for the healing of all victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse and for a just resolution to the civil claims made under the Minnesota Child Victims Act.

“I apologize again on behalf of the Church to all victims and survivors of abuse,” Kettler said in a statement. “I am thankful they have come forward. I, along with the faithful of the Diocese of Saint Cloud, remain committed to assist in the healing of all those who have been hurt. And we promise to continue to work diligently to prevent abuse and keep all children in our parishes and schools safe.”

Listening sessions will be scheduled in the future. Pastors and parishioners are being informed of the claims, but it is not expected that they will affect normal operations of parishes or schools.

Diocese and parish staff are working with attorneys to identify insurance coverage that could go towards the resolution of the claims.

The diocese is considering all options for fairly resolving the claims, the statement read. 

Kettler encourages anyone who has suffered abuse by a member of the clergy to come forward, regardless of when the event occurred. Victims can contact the diocese's victim assistance coordinator at 248-1563.

Contact information for victim advocates and county officials is available at More information and updates can be found at

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Members of clergy included in claims: 

Allegations of abuse were made against the follow clergy members in lawsuits filed against the Diocese of St. Cloud under the Minnesota Child Victims Act: 

  • Cosmas Dahlheimer, OSB
  • Hubert Dahlheimer, OSB
  • John Eccleston
  • Richard Eckroth, OSB
  • Sylvester Gall
  • Raoul Gauthier
  • Thomas Gillespie, OSB
  • Philibert Harrer, OSB
  • Othmar Hohmann, OSB
  • Matthew Kiess, OSB
  • Val Klimek
  • Joseph Kremer
  • Henry Lutgen
  • Brennan Maiers, OSB
  • Antonio Marfori
  • James Mohm
  • Jerome Reisinger
  • David Rieder
  • Donald Rieder
  • David Sheldon
  • Paul Shurek
  • Robert Smith
  • Peter Snyers
  • Allan Speiser
  • James Thoennes
  • Thomas Thole, OSB
  • Roger Vaughn, OSC
  • William Wey
  • Joseph Wiersgalla
  • Mark Willenbring
  • Vincent Yzermans

In 2014, Bishop Donald Kettler released a list of clergy that he called "a complete list of all the clergy who had likely abused minors. Find the list, and a story from 2014 at



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