Lawsuit filed against former Edina priest; case dates to 1970s

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More bad news for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: A Catholic priest has been sued by a man who alleges the Rev. Jerome C. Kern abused him when he was 12 to 16 years old, while Kern was at Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina in the mid-1970s, the Star Tribune reports.

The victim also names the archdiocese in the suit, alleging that church leaders had shuffled the priest off from St. Mark’s Church in St. Paul to Edina, after two parents at St. Marks complained that he molested their two teenage sons during a Lake Nokomis swimming outing in 1969, the newspaper reports.

The man who says he was abused as a teen, now in his 50s, recently contacted St. Paul lawyers Paul Finnegan and Jeff Anderson, in the wake of a number of media stories about abusive priests, the Star Tribune reports. The lawyers said the archdiocese kept Kern in ministry at parishes in Minnetonka and then in Forest Lake through 2002.

Anderson has filed a number of cases on behalf of people who say they were victims of abuse by priests in Minnesota.

The archdiocese has been rocked by a number of lawsuits against Catholic priests in recent months – at least 19 since May, the Star Tribune reports – and has been under fire from critics who say the church did not do enough to protect children. The Star Tribune on Thursday had a related story, noting that a few top church donors are calling for a change in leadership.

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