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Deceased St. Cloud priest subject of two new lawsuits against diocese

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He may have died two years ago, but Father Donald Rieder is the subject of two sex abuse claims that have been brought against the Diocese of St. Cloud.

Represented by Jeff Anderson (the attorney behind the large settlement deal between molestation survivors and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis), two women identified only as Does 65 and 67 came forward with the lawsuits this week, charging that the church failed to protect them and other children from harm.

According to the Legal Examiner, the two claimants say Rieder sexually abused them at two churches – St. James in Randall, Minnesota, and St. Anne’s in Kimball, Minnesota – in the 1960s when they were between the ages of 11 and 15.

Rieder had a disturbing history of sexual abuse, having pleaded guilty in 2003 to molesting a female parishioner at St. John Cantius Church in St. Cloud the decade prior, according to the St. Cloud Times.

The paper says the priest, who was in his late 70s at the time, also admitted to molesting three other young girls in the 1980s, but was not prosecuted for those offenses as the statute of limitations had expired.

The Legal Examiner says the victims and attorneys in Monday's lawsuit are urging the Diocese to release documents on all clergy sex abuse offenders in the church (a similar requirement was part of the settlement with the Twin Cities archdiocese).

They're filing under the Child Victims Act, which temporarily removed the statute of limitations on such crimes and gave abuse survivors until May 25, 2016 to file court claims.

Last year, the St. Cloud Diocese released the names of 33 "credibly accused" priests in light of a separate lawsuit.

According to a funeral home obituary, Rieder, a Minnesota native, died in 2013 at the age of 88.

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