The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 12, 2013

Diocese faces new child molestation suit

Priest accused of molesting boy while in Granite Falls

MANKATO — A priest who died in Ireland while awaiting trial for raping a 15-year-old boy in 1968 has been named in a new lawsuit against the Diocese of New Ulm claiming he sexually assaulted a Granite Falls boy while in the United States to be treated for pedophilia.

The attorneys announcing the lawsuit — Michael Finnegan of Jeff Anderson and Associates and Michael Bryant of Bradshaw and Bryant — also repeated their request to have the diocese release a list of 12 priests who have been accused of sexually molesting children.

The request was made in a similar lawsuit against the diocese, but the diocese will argue against the list being released in a hearing before District Court Judge Robert Docherty during a Jan. 6 hearing. The priest named in that lawsuit is David Roney. The two victims reported they were molested by Roney while attending a Catholic school in Benson.

Last week Archbishop John Nienstedt released a list of 32 priests accused of sexual abuse while working at churches within the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. That list wasn't released until a court order was issued.

Nienstedt was serving as the bishop of the New Ulm Diocese in 2003 when he admitted a dozen priests were in that diocese who had been accused of molesting children, Finnegan said during a news conference Thursday in Mankato. He refused to name those priests then and the current bishop for the diocese, John LeVoir, is fighting the list's release through the court cases.

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

That type of secrecy has allowed priests accused of molesting children to be moved to different parishes where, as in the allegations against Markey, they were able to sexually assault others.

The lawsuit announced Thursday, which does not name the victim, is the second naming the Diocese of New Ulm and Francis Markey, who was 84 when he died in Ireland awaiting trial last year. A lawsuit filed by Minnetonka attorney Pat Noaker in June claims the diocese should have known Markey was a sex offender when he was assigned to work at a church in Henderson about 30 years ago. A former member of the church reported Markey sexually assaulted him twice, once at the church and once in a car while driving to his family's rural home for dinner, when he was 15 years old.

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