MN - Another Twin Cities predator priest is sued
For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013
Statement by Bob Schwiderski, SNAP Minnesota director (952 471 3422, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Another clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit has been filed against the Twin Cities archdiocese.
Over the past few weeks, at least seven proven, admitted and credibly accused Twin Cities sex offender clerics have been in the news: Fr. Jon Shelley, Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer, Fr. Michael Keating, Fr. Rudolph Henrich, Fr. Robert Kapoun Fr. Mark Huberty and now, Fr. Robert Thurner.
Three of these men - Henrich, Huberty and Keating - were essentially “under the radar” until recently.
More predator priests, we suspect, will be exposed and sued - and hopefully prosecuted - in the weeks ahead, especially since Minnesota lawmakers reformed the statute of limitations, enabling more child sex abuse victims to step forward and seek justice.
In light of all this, Archbishop John Neinstedt’s recent and self-serving half-steps and public relations moves seem even more paltry and ineffective now than they did even a week ago.
Fr. Thurner reportedly admitted molesting a child in 1982. That victim’s attorney said “the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis knew about the abuse after it first occurred” but let the priest stay at his parish and moved him to another parish “only after a second accusation six months later,” according to the Star Tribune.
Today’s lawsuit charges that after being transferred, Fr. Thurner molested again. If that proves true, it will again prove that archdiocesan officials do just the bare minimum – move or suspend a credibly accused child molesting cleric – while providing little or no supervision or monitoring (just like they are doing with Fr. Robert Kapoun, as disclosed earlier this month by Minnesota Public Radio).
Back in 1991, the Star Tribune reported that “Thurner retired suddenly from St. Therese Catholic Church in St. Paul,” on the day a child sex abuse and cover up suit was filed against him and archdiocesan officials.
Fr. Thurner worked in St. Paul, West St. Paul, Bloomington, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Prior Lake. His last known address: the Leo Byrne Residence, St. Paul, MN.
We hope every person – whether a current or former Catholic church member or staffer – will call police or prosecutors with every bit of knowledge or suspicions they may have about crimes by Fr. Thurner or cover ups by his church supervisors.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.