The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 19, 2013

Diocese faces new sex assault allegations

NEW ULM — A Minnetonka attorney has filed a second lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of New Ulm, claiming officials there allowed a priest to continue working at churches under its control when they should have known he was sexually abusing teenagers.

The diocese responded to the allegations by Patrick Noaker and his client, identified as John Doe 107, with a news release listing the locations Rev. William Marks worked while he was a serving as a priest from 1936 through 1979. The diocese in New Ulm wasn't created until 1957, but the allegations claim the boy was sexually abused from about 1957 to 1960 while he was an altar boy at the Church of St. John in Hector.

The incident will be investigated, but there is no additional information at this time, the news release said. It also said the diocese regrets the "devastating effects of sexual misconduct on the part of clergy" and that it is working diligently to provide a safe environment at its churches.

A similar response was issued after Noaker filed his first lawsuit against the diocese in June that claims another client was sexually abused by Rev. Francis Markey while Markey was serving as a substitute priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Henderson. The victim was about 15 years old when he was allegedly assaulted in 1982.

A third lawsuit, filed in September by another attorney, names two women who claim they were sexually assaulted by Rev. David Roney while he was serving as a priest in Willmar during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

All three priests are dead. The lawsuits claim the diocese should have known the priests were pedophiles when the incidents allegedly occurred.

The other church in the diocese where Marks served is the Church of St. Clotilde in Green Valley. He also served at churches in Tyler, Faribault, Northfield and Litchfield while they were under the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which also is named in the lawsuit.

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