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'Kids Still at Risk' Until List of Accused Priests Released

Updated: 12/09/2013 10:10 PM
Created: 12/09/2013 11:40 AM WDIO.com

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - A lawsuit filed on behalf of a man who claims he was sexually abused by a priest in the Diocese of Duluth in the 1970s is asking the diocese to release its list of 17 priests accused of molesting minors.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in St. Louis County District Court.

It alleges the diocese was negligent because it failed to protect children from a priest who had been previously accused of molesting boys. It says the diocese gave parents no warning that the priest was a risk.

In 2004, the diocese compiled a list of 17 priests who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. Attorneys for abuse victims want that list to be public.

According to Mike Finnegan, the attorney for the alleged victim known as Doe 28, "every day, every hour that passes that these names are kept quiet and the Bishop keeps them quiet, puts kids at risk."

In a statement, Father James Bissonette Vicar General with the Diocese of Duluth said "while we, like other Minnesota dioceses, have generally been reluctant to disclose the names of diocesan clergy... we have done so only because the list is an imperfect means for identifying those credibly accused. We continue to seek a better way to let those credibly accused of such transgressions be named without harming those who may have been wrongly accused."

Father Bissonette also said that "there are no priests with known accusations of sexual abuse of children in active ministry in the Duluth Diocese."

According to the complaint, the diocese has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.

(Copyright 2013 WDIO-TV, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
 

Plaintiffs held a press conference about the lawsuit Monday in Duluth.

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