Lawsuit against New Ulm Diocese seeks list of accused priests

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A lawsuit has been filed against the Diocese of New Ulm and the Servants of the Paraclete to force them to release their lists of clerics accused of abusing children. The lawsuit is also asking for $50,000.

The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in Brown County, according to a report from the Associated Press. A man claims he was molested when he was 8 years old by Rev. Francis Markey at St. Andrew's Church, in Granite Falls, in 1982.

Attorney Mike Finnegan said it's the second time he has sued the diocese over Markey. According to the AP report, Finnegan says the lawsuit takes advantage of a new Minnesota law extending the statute of limitations for abuse victims.

The Mankato Free Press reports the lawsuit claims Markey sexually assaulted the boy while in the United States to be treated for pedophilia.

The Free Press reports that Markey was sent to the Servant of the Paraclete facility in New Mexico in 1981 to be treated for pedophilia, after several reports that he had sexually assaulted children. Prior to that he also was sent to sex offender treatment facilities in Ireland three times between 1964 and 1975.

Markey died in Ireland while awaiting trial for raping a 15-year-old boy in 1968.

After a court order last week, Archbishop John Nienstedt released a list of 32 priests "credibly accused" of sexual abuse while working at churches within the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The Free Press reports Finnegan said during a news conference in Mankato Thursday that Nienstedt was serving as the bishop of the New Ulm Diocese in 2003 when he admitted a dozen priests in that diocese had been accused of molesting children.

"For the last decade (Nienstedt) and the current bishop have kept those names secret," Finnegan said.

The website for the Diocese of New Ulm said that the rural diocese in the southwestern part of the state is "a community of 76 parishes and 4 oratories serving Catholics throughout 15 counties in Minnesota."

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and St. John's Abbey have released similar lists.

The Winona Daily News reports that the Diocese of Winona will release a list of 13 priests and former priests who have been credibly accused there on Monday, as ordered by action in Ramsey County District Court.

Action is also pending to require the Archdiocese of Duluth to release names of 17 priests suspected in abuse cases.

The string of lawsuits filed against priests and the Catholic Church in Minnesota come in response to action by the Minnesota Legislature, which approved the Child Victims Act. That lifted the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases in civil court and allowed for lawsuits to be filed against priests and churches, even if the abuse happened decades ago. Accusers have three years to file the lawsuits.

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