St. Paul Woman Sues Archdiocese over Alleged Sex Abuse

By John McCormick
Minneapolis Star Tribune
June 20, 1991

A 48-year-old St. Paul woman is suing the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and St. Leo's Catholic Church in St. Paul over sexual abuse allegedly committed in 1968 by a Tanzanian priest living at the church.

The woman's attorneys filed the complaint in Ramsey County District Court Wednesday under the pseudonym Jane K. Doe.

It says the Rev. Patrick Joseph Dinya "regularly and repeatedly sexually exploited" the woman during counseling sessions involving her marriage and emotional problems.

Jeffrey Anderson, one of her attorneys, said the priest "coerced" her into having sexual intercourse with him several times between May and August 1968.

The case is still within Minnesota's statute of limitations because the woman realized her psychological injuries only during the last six years, Anderson said.

The sexual abuse, which allegedly took place on the church premises, represented a "serious mishandling of the pastoral relationship," he said.

The exploitation was often accomplished by "enticing, coercing and forcing the plaintiff to consume intoxicating liquor," the complaint said.

The woman also charges that Dinya repeatedly told her that sexual contact with him was "appropriate and necessary in the eyes of God" and in her best interest.

She has a "long history of mental illness," Anderson said. "She looked to him as a psychiatrist in many ways."

The complaint also claims that Dinya was transferred to St. Peter Claver Church in St. Paul in August 1968 after the archdiocese learned that he had sexually molested a retarded teenage girl at St. Leo's.

Andrew Eisenzimmer, the attorney representing the archdiocese, said that Dinya was not officially stationed at the church and that no records were kept because of his temporary service.

"He was never a priest in the archdiocese, at least not in a formal assignment sense," Eisenzimmer said. "We have very little information about this guy."

Dinya apparently stayed at St. Leo's while he was attending the College of St. Thomas. He received a bachelor's degree in sociology from the school in May 1969 and a master's in education in July 1970.

Officials of the archdiocese said they were trying to gather more information about Dinya, who may have gone back to Tanzania after he completed his work at St. Thomas.


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