A Twin Cities law firm intends to file a lawsuit against a current Minnesota bishop and a Roman Catholic diocese in the state alleging that a survivor of clergy sex abuse was threatened with retaliation if he revealed how he was assaulted as a child.
St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who for many years has pursued many legal cases in connection with clergy sex abuse in Minnesota and elsewhere, said this is the first time a U.S. bishop has been sued for coercion.
At a news conference scheduled for Tuesday at Anderson’s offices, the abuse survivor and a priest from the diocese will speak publicly for the first time about “how the bishop threatened retaliation against the survivor and a family member if he disclosed the sexual abuse,” a statement from Anderson’s law firm read.
The bishop “threatened harm to [the] survivor’s vocation” and the “survivor’s son’s career as a priest if he did not recant his abuse report,” the statement continued.
The defendants’ names are also expected to be revealed at the news conference.
The abuse survivor, who was looking into becoming a church deacon, reported the abuse to his bishop in 2010, Anderson said. The bishop urged the man to not tell anyone about the abuse.
Five years later, the diocese was ordered by a court to produce all information about clergy abusing children. That information left out the name of the clergy member being accused in this case and the name of a former top diocese official, Anderson added.