Woman says Minneapolis-St. Paul archdiocese covered for abusive priest

Oct. 30, 2013 at 7:52 PM
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ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A woman now in her 30s has sued the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul and an 87-year-old priest, saying he abused her 30 years ago.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday also charges that Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, who was an auxiliary bishop in Minnesota in the 1980s, was among the church officials who knew the Rev. Robert Thurner had been involved in child molesting, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The plaintiff charges that Thurner admitted in 1982 that he had given a teenage boy liquor and sexually abused him and was then transferred to the parish where she encountered him.

The woman says she was molested at her parents' home in 1983 and 1984. She was a student at the parochial school at the Church of St. Joseph in West St. Paul, and her parents invited the priest to their house.

"The archdiocese and its top officials made a choice ... to protect their own reputation and protect Father Thurner's reputation rather than looking out for the well-being of a child," Mike Finnegan, the plaintiffs' lawyer, said.

Robert Blanchard, an expert on sexual issues and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, told WebMD that most pedophiles appear to have a preference for one gender. But he said given the hidden nature of the conduct it is difficult to say how many might molest both boys and girls.

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