Retired priest with Willmar ties faces sex abuse lawsuits
ST. PAUL — A St. Paul law firm has scheduled a news conference this afternoon regarding sexual abuse allegations against a Catholic priest who once served in Willmar.
Two women are scheduled to speak out about the abuse committed by the late Rev. David A. Roney, according to a release from Anderson and Associates in St. Paul.
Roney served at St. Mary’s Church in Willmar in the 1960s and 1970s.
According to the news release, the law firm will be filing two lawsuits on behalf of three women. The suits claim that the New Ulm Diocese was negligent in allowing Roney to have continued access to children even after receiving reports of inappropriate behavior with girls.
The lawsuits will be the first ones filed regarding Roney under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which was passed by the Legislature this year and became law on Aug. 1.
The diocese settled a lawsuit with two other victims in 2005. Those victims did not wish to speak publicly about Roney’s actions.
Roney was ordained in 1945 and served for a time in the Twin Cities area. He served the Church of St. Francis in Benson from 1963 to 1967 before coming to Willmar, where he served until 1980. Roney served the Church of St. Gregory the Great in Lafayette, Minn., from 1980 until 1993, when he retired from active ministry. He also served as director of the San Lucas Mission Office and director of the Propagation of the Faith for the New Ulm Diocese.
From 1987 to 1989, after a complaint about his behavior, he underwent psychotherapy, but he continued to serve at the Church of St. Gregory the Great until his retirement.
After he retired, he lived in Guatamela, where he was active in the ministry of a mission connected to the diocese and continued to have access to children. He died in 2003, the year after the diocese recommended that his pastoral duties be terminated.