St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, one of the most prominent attorneys representing victims of Catholic clergy sex abuse in the U.S., is getting closer to the Vatican -- literally.

In recent years, Anderson has filed lawsuits against the Vatican, accusing Catholic leaders of fraud and not doing enough to stop clergy sex abuse in its ranks. And now as part of a new legal partnership, he'll be taking on clerical sex abuse cases in the United Kingdom.

At a news conference in London Tuesday morning, Anderson and London-based solicitor of England and Wales Ann Olivarius announced the launch of a new legal practice formed to advocate for victims of clergy abuse in the UK.

Anderson said by phone from London Tuesday that Olivarius approached him last year about joining forces to take on the burgeoning number of abuse cases in the UK.

"It’s a problem here that has not been addressed in a way that it could be and should be," Anderson said. "I beleive we can do something about it and make a difference for the kids who need us. It feels like the right thing to do."

 

 

 

 

Also announced at the conference is the firm’s first lawsuit, filed in federal court in Minneapolis. Among the defendants named in the lawsuit are Irish priest Fr. Francis Markey, the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland and the Diocese of New Ulm in Minnesota.

Markey is alleged to have molested children in Ireland and the U.S. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Nevada man, who says as an 8-year-old he was sexually assaulted by Markey, who was then serving as a priest at St. Andrew Parish in Granite Falls,  Minnesota.

Markey was recently extradited from Indiana to Ireland to face charges of sexually abusing children.