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Sex abuse lawsuit filed against New Ulm Diocese; lawyers seeking accused priest names

WILLMAR — Attorneys from the Jeff Anderson law firm have filed a sexual abuse lawsuit on behalf of a man who says he was abused in 1982 by the Rev. Francis Markey at St. Andrew Parish in Granite Falls. They are also requesting the release of the names of priests accused of abusing children in the New Ulm Diocese of the Catholic Church.

The lawsuit names the diocese and Servants of the Paraclete as defendants and alleges both defendants were negligent in failing to supervise Markey and allowing him to work in communities and parishes with access to children. In addition, the allegations state that Markey was placed in the St. Andrew parish without families being informed that he had molested children and had gone through alleged sex offender treatment several times.

The suit was filed Wednesday in Brown County District Court in New Ulm.

The filing of the lawsuit, announced Thursday morning in Mankato, includes a request that the diocese publicly release the names of priests accused of molesting children. The lawsuit notes that the diocese publicly admitted in 2003 that there were 12 priests who were accused and had worked at parishes in the diocese, but would not release those names to the public.

The request comes after the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released the names of 34 credibly accused priests and St. John’s Abbey released the names of 18 former monks who likely offended against minors.

According to the lawsuit and other information from Anderson’s firm, Markey was ordained as a priest in 1952 and accused of sexual abuse of at least three children in the 1960s and 1970s while he was serving in Ireland. He was sent to treatment programs in Ireland and England before receiving sex offender treatment at the Servants of the Paraclete in New Mexico in 1981. He came to Minnesota in 1981 to participate in a clinical pastoral education program at the Willmar State Hospital and was appointed by the diocese in 1982 to serve as priest at the Church of St. Andrew in Granite Falls.

According to Tribune archives, Markey served there for about three months in temporary post after the previous priest had died and before a new priest arrived.

Markey died in 2012 in Ireland. He was extradited back to Ireland to stand trial for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in Lough Derg, Ireland, but died before the trial started.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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