High Court Won't Hear Appeal in Abbey Priest Case

By David Unze
St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, MN)
September 4, 2004

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of a former St. John's Prep student whose lawsuit against his former priest and teacher was dismissed.

Bill Quenroe appealed a Stearns County District Court judge's decision to dismiss the lawsuit against Dunstan Moorse. Attorneys for Moorse and St. John's Abbey successfully argued that Quenroe filed his lawsuit after the statute of limitations expired.

Quenroe appealed to the state's highest court, which Thursday declined to hear the appeal. That means the decision by Stearns County District Court Judge Bernard Boland to dismiss the case stands.

Quenroe accused Moorse of sexually abusing him in the early 1980s when Quenroe was a student at St. John's Prep. Moorse was a teacher and spiritual adviser there. Abbey attorneys argued that Quenroe filed the lawsuit after Minnesota's six-year statute of limitations expired. A statute of limitations is a period of time in which legal action must be taken.

Quenroe signed a statement in 1992 outlining the abuse and met with then-Abbot Timothy Kelly in 1995. Quenroe and Kelly discussed financial assistance for injuries Quenroe said he sustained because of the abuse.

Therefore, Quenroe should have known of the abuse by no later than 1995, abbey attorneys said. He had to file the lawsuit no later than 2001 for it to fall within the statute of limitations.

Quenroe filed suit in June 2002. He said he had developed coping mechanisms that made him incapable of realizing earlier the damages he suffered from Moorse's conduct.

Quenroe was one of several people who signed a landmark agreement with St. Johns Abbey in October 2002 that involved payments to numerous victims of clergy sex abuse and the formation of an external review board. The agreement included a provision that prevented those victims from seeking additional settlements from the abbey in the future but allowed them to sue the abbey's insurance carrier.


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