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Continued: Mom of two abused boys: Archdiocese is trying to blame me

  • Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 25, 2014 - 5:13 AM

One son remains under intense therapy at a treatment center in Utah after a period of sexual promiscuity, drugs and a spree of running away. The boy’s escape from a detention center in Lino Lakes, along with school truancy violations, created legal trouble that the family is still confronting, she said.

Failure in school, depression, guilt, anxiety and nightmares have plagued the other children, she said. She said the stress caused her to develop painful skin lesions that resulted in a lengthy hospital stay.

The mother said the archdiocese agreed early on to pay all of her family’s counseling and therapy costs. But lately the family has received delinquent pay notices from therapists and other providers, she said. One bill is for a 66-day stay at Harbor Shelter in Hastings for one of the boys who was abused.

Accurso said that, effective Monday, all therapy and counseling bills for the family had been paid. Any delinquencies were due to a temporary staffing change in the chancery office, he said.

He acknowledged that the archdiocese hasn’t paid the Harbor Shelter bill because temporary shelter wasn’t covered under the family’s agreement with the church. Accurso said the archdiocese is willing to discuss the Harbor Shelter bill with her attorneys.

In addition, the family has challenged a change in her work status. The mother said her work hours recently were capped at 12 per week, down from 36, after she was questioned by the new pastor as to how many hours she was capable of working. Accurso said her hours were changed because “she was only interested in working eight to 12’’ hours.

“She’s a great worker and if she calls tomorrow and asks for 36 [hours] she will get them,’’ Accurso said.

But the mother said therapy appointments and other obligations related to the crisis in her family is the only thing keeping her from working a full week. Her previous arrangement with the archdiocese was to get paid for 36 hours while taking as much time off as needed to handle the appointments.

“I’m so exasperated by how the church is treating our family,” the mother said.

St. Paul Police recently questioned the mother again about the timing of when she initially reported the sexual abuse to the archdiocese. Sarah Odegaard, her attorney, said Monday that recently obtained phone records show that the family made a phone call to the Rev. John Paul Erickson at 3:23 p.m. on June 17, 2012. The mother said her husband also was on the call and that it was not part of any confession. The priest, who is a mandated reporter of child abuse, told the couple he would have an archdiocesan attorney call the police, the mother said.

The timeline is important to Ramsey County’s consideration of possible criminal charges against the archdiocese for failing to report the abuse to authorities within 24 hours. Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said late last month that the church appeared to meet the deadline, but he since said he is reconsidering the case.


Tony Kennedy • 612-673-4213

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