In October 2013, as a result of the settlement of the Doe 1 v. Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, et al., case,the Archdiocese agreed to disclose additional names of clerics with substantiated claims of child sexual abuse. The Doe 1 lawsuit was filed in July 2013 under a Minnesota law, the Child Victims Act, passed by the Minnesota legislature in May 2013. This law created a three-year window for sexual abuse survivors to file claims for the abuse they suffered as children. This window closes on May 25, 2016.
Beginning in December 2013, the Archdiocese began publicly naming clergy members with substantiated claims of sexual abuse of minors. Additional names were made public in February, May and October of 2014 and in February 2015. To-date, 68 clergy members have been named as having substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor. The list and additional information on the clerics is available at http://safe-environment.archspm.org/accountability/clergy-disclosures/.
On January 16, 2015, the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As a result of the bankruptcy, the court established a deadline of August 3, 2015, for sexual abuse survivors and other creditors, to file their claims in bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy case is currently ongoing and several issues need to be addressed before the case can be resolved. In total, 13 dioceses and religious orders have filed for bankruptcy protection since 2004.
As a result of the Archdiocese’s failure to protect children and contribution to the unspeakable harm done to three abuse victims of Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer, the Archdiocese was criminally charged on June 5, 2015. The case is ongoing in Ramsey County District Court and is only the second time a United States diocese has been criminally charged.
On August 13, 2015, the Diocese of Crookston was ordered by a Mahnomen County District Court Judge to produce all records pertaining to sexual abuse reported to have been committed by any priest before 1985. The order was issued as part of the Doe 19 sexual abuse lawsuit that was filed in November 2013, naming the Diocese of Crookston and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate as defendants. Doe 19 was sexually abused by Father James Vincent Fitzgerald when he was approximately 8-9 years old at St. Anne’s parish on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Naytahwaush, MN.
In January 2014, the Diocese of Crookston released the names of six clerics with credible allegations of child sexual abuse. Among those named is one of the nation’s most prolific abusers, former priest James Porter. Porter was criminally convicted for abusing over 20 children and worked in the Crookston Diocese in Bemidji, MN, from 1969-1970.
Also included on the list is Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul who was accused of sexually abusing two minor girls while working in Greenbush and Middle River, MN. Jeyapaul was removed from ministry in 2005 and returned to India. In 2014 he was extradited to Minnesota to face criminal charges in Roseau County. Jeyapaul pleaded guilty to charges involving the sexual abuse of one of the girls and was sentenced in June 2015. Jeyapaul was deported to India shortly after his sentencing.
The names of 17 priests with credible allegations of sexually abusing children were released on December 31, 2013, by the Diocese of Duluth. The names were made public after two sexual abuse lawsuits were filed on behalf of two courageous survivors who were abused by Father John Nicholson and Father Robert Klein. Following the release of the documents in 2013, the Diocese of Duluth requested a protective order demonstrating it was unwilling to be transparent in releasing the documents and priest files of the 17 credibly accused clerics. To-date, the Diocese of Duluth has not released the documents and priest files.
A priest of the Diocese of Duluth, Father Brian Lederer, was charged in May 2015 with five counts of criminal sexual conduct for the alleged sexual abuse of three minor girls. Father Lederer was a priest at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hibbing, MN, and also worked at the parish school, Assumption Catholic School. A fourth minor girl came forward in August 2015 with additional sexual abuse allegations against Fr. Lederer. Lederer is also facing child pornography charges and is currently on administrative leave from the Diocese of Duluth.
Information pertaining to the release of names and clergy accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Duluth can be found here: http://www.dioceseduluth.org/Credibly-Accused-Priests.
In March 2015, the Diocese of New Ulm quietly released the names of four priests with allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Included on this partial list and disclosed for the first time was Father Dennis Becker. Becker worked in several parishes in southern and western Minnesota during his career as a priest. The Diocese of New Ulm released Becker’s name in response to a notice of claim submitted to the diocese.
Father David Roney, Father John Murphy and Father Michael Skoblik were also named as clerics with allegations of abuse. The Diocese of New Ulm continues to refuse to release the documents and priest files pertaining to each of the accused clerics. Three priests who worked in the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis who were included in the Archdiocese’s release of names in October 2014, worked in the Diocese of New Ulm as well: Harry Majerus, William Marks and Robert Clark. In 2003-2004, then-Bishop of New Ulm and former Archbishop of St. Paul & Minneapolis, John Nienstedt, compiled a list of 12 priests with credible allegations of abuse but refused to make the list public.
In 2014, two sexual abuse survivors, Doe 37 and Doe 38, filed suit against the Diocese of New Ulm for alleged abuse by Father Michael Skoblik at St. Joseph’s Church in Silver Lake, MN. In another lawsuit, Doe 10 alleged sexual abuse by Father Francis Markey at St. Andrew’s Church in Granite Falls, MN. All three survivors alleged the Diocese of New Ulm created a public nuisance by concealing the histories of Fathers Skoblik and Markey and other priest offenders, from the community. In an order dated March 27, 2015, a Brown County Judge allowed the public nuisance claims to proceed. This order will help hold the Diocese of New Ulm accountable for protecting pedophile priests and will help keep children safe in the future.
Information pertaining to the release of names and clergy accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese of New Ulm can be found here: http://www.dnu.org/sexual-abuse/.
In January 2014, the Diocese of St. Cloud publicly released the names of 33 clergy who were “likely involved in the sexual abuse of minors.” Less than two months later, four more names were added to the list. The Diocese of St. Cloud has not released the priest files or documents relating to each perpetrator.
Doe 50, a courageous sexual abuse survivor abused by Father James Thoennes, filed a lawsuit in January 2015, and requested the release of the priest files and documents. Doe 50 also claimed the Diocese of St. Cloud created a public nuisance by refusing to release the information pertaining to the credibly accused clerics and their patterns of grooming and abuse. In June 2015, a Stearns County Judge allowed Doe 50’s public nuisance claim to continue. The order will help hold the Diocese of St. Cloud accountable for protecting pedophile priests in the past and will help keep children safe in the future.
Information pertaining to the release of names and clergy accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese of St. Cloud can be found here: http://stcdio.org/about/accountability/bishop-kettlers-statements/.
In October 2013, as a result of the settlement of the Doe 1 v. Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, et al., case, the Diocese of Winona agreed to disclose the names of clerics with substantiated claims of sexually abusing a minor. In December 2013, the Diocese of Winona released the names of 14 priests with credible allegations of abuse. Three more priests were added to the list since the original release of names and to-date, 17 priests have been listed by the Diocese of Winona as having substantiated allegations of sexually abusing children. The files of 14 priests were released by Jeff Anderson & Associates on October 7, 2014.
Included on the list of names was Father Leo Koppala. Fr. Koppala pleaded guilty in 2013 to second degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor while working at St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth, MN. Fr. Koppala was deported to India in March 2014 and remains a priest of the Nellore Diocese in India.
Information pertaining to the release of names and clergy accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Winona can be found here: http://www.dow.org/disclosures.