Thursday, February 5, 2009

9 Minn. clergy abuse cases settled for $1.7 million with Crosier religious order

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A $1.7 million court settlement in the Twin Cities is being announced today by a longtime legal defender of Catholic clergy sexual abuse victims and a centuries-old Catholic religious order with an outpost south of Lake Mille Lacs.

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson said that along with the money, the Crosiers Catholic religious order involved in this abuse is required to make public the names of the living perpetrators with credible allegations made against them. Anderson said that a series of abuse prevention steps also will be revealed.

The cases involve nine men who were sexually assaulted as boys by the Crosier clerics in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Also as part of the settlement, Anderson said, the Crosiers will disclose documents regarding the abusers.

"Through this settlement, we are working to respond to these men with a sense of justice, and we hope this settlement helps them move toward peace of heart and healing in their lives," Thomas R. Carkhuff, the head of the Crosiers in the United States, said in a statement written in anticipation of the settlement. "We are deeply sorry for these wrongs that were committed in the past by some Crosiers and for the pain that this abuse has caused these men and their families."

The statement also names four of the perpetrators. Two of them, Gabriel Guerrero and Greg Madigan, continue as members of the Crosier Order. They were named in a 2002 report of a Crosier-commissioned investigation.

"These Crosiers had been removed from public ministry prior to completion of the 2002 investigation," today's Crosiers statement said, "and they continue to live under restrictions."

The statement added that the other two, former brother and recruiter Wendell Mohs and Gerald Funcheon, left the order in the 1980s.

In 2002, the Crosiers commissioned a third-party investigation of every allegation against a Crosier priest, brother or employee. Conducted by the Minneapolis law firm Faegre and Benson, the investigation found that the most recent incident reported to the Crosiers occurred in the late 1980s.

Carkhuff said that every Crosier who has been found to have committed sexual abuse of a minor has been removed from public ministry and will remain under restrictions as long as they remain Crosiers. He said there have been no reported incidents of further sexual abuse once any restricted Crosier.

"We continue to encourage anyone who knows or suspects that a Crosier, or one of our employees or volunteers, has been involved in sexual misconduct, to contact me or a member of our First Contact Team," Carkhuff said.

In a suit filed in Ramsey County District Court in 2006, Mark Mallinger said he was abused as a student at the Onamia, Minn., seminary in the 1970s, and Charles Spahn, a former altar boy in Onamia, said he was abused from age 9 to 14.

"The seminary at Onamia was truly a house of horrors," Mallinger, who later became a United Church of Christ minister, said at the time the suit was filed. "I know classmates were abused, and I know people suffered in silence and shame."

The Crosiers said that they will pay the $1.7 million from insurance policies, proceeds from the sale of property the Crosiers had owned and from income earned by Crosiers in various ministry assignments.

The Crosier Fathers and Brothers, officially known as the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross, is a religious community of men founded nearly 800 years ago in Belgium. Crosiers established a presence in the United States in 1910.

The U.S. Province, with about 80 members, is headquartered in Phoenix, with communities in Phoenix, Onamia and Indonesia. Crosiers had lived in Shoreview since 1960 and became the order's national headquarters in 1995 until it left Shoreview in 2007. There are 38 members in Onamia.

The international headquarters of the Crosier Order is in Rome. Crosiers also have a presence in Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Europe and Indonesia. Star Tribune


The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was not a party to this lawsuit.

For a more detailed article on this subject see the Pioneer Press




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