Suit Filed against Former Priest, Crosiers

By Paul Gustafson
Star Tribune [Minneapolis, MN]
September 20, 2003

A man who alleges that he was sexually abused as a boy in the 1970s by the Rev. Gerald Funcheon at St. Odilia Catholic Church in Shoreview sued the priest, the Crosier religious order and the church on Friday.

The man, identified in the suit as John Doe J.R., is now in his 40s and living in California. He alleges that Funcheon repeatedly abused him from 1971 to 1974. The abuse occurred in the school and church, in the priest's room at a rectory and on trips that Funcheon took with teenage boys from the school, the suit says.

Funcheon, who was his sixth-grade teacher for religion, sexual education and physical education, "instilled. . . the idea" in him that the sexual contact was his fault because he tempted the priest, the man charged.

The priest also told him to tell no one about their sexual contacts, the man said.

The suit filed in Ramsey County District Court seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress, loss of earning capacity and medical and psychological expenses.

David Kostik, a spokesman for the Crosier order, said Crosier officials have not seen the suit and could not comment. He confirmed that Funcheon was a member of the order who served at St. Odilia, but said he has not been in Minnesota for many years. Kostik said he did not have access Friday to detailed information about when Funcheon was at St. Odilia.

Paul Engh, an attorney representing Funcheon, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The U.S. Crosiers are a Roman Catholic order based in Shoreview that has served the St. Odilia parish since the early 1960s.

Last November, Crosier leaders publicly identified eight members who sexually abused minors, and who were removed from public ministry and are living under restrictions. Funcheon was not one of the sexual abusers identified.

But attorney William Cottrell said Friday that he represented a man, who wishes to remain anonymous, who also alleged that Funcheon sexually abused him in the late 1970s when he and three other boys were on a sleepover at the St. Odilia rectory.

His client received $30,000, payment for psychological counseling and an apology on behalf of Funcheon as part of an out-of-court settlement, Cottrell said.

Crosier officials advised him that Funcheon left Minnesota years ago, joined a different order and has left the priesthood and is living in Florida.

Kostik said he was not aware of that case, and that the order would not comment about the details if a settlement occurred.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.