Minnesota Catholic Diocese Papers Over Four Decades of Sex Abuse Claims with $5 Million Settlement

Saturday, July 20, 2019
By Paul Martin

The diocese of Crookston, Minnesota is settling 15 different lawsuits alleging sexual abuse.

By Shane Trejo
BigLeaguePolitics.com
Jul 19, 2019

The diocese of Crookston, Minnesota is settling 15 different cases alleging sexual abuse with a $5 million dollar settlement that will help the diocese avoid bankruptcy.

The lawsuits were brought against the diocese between April 2016 and May 2017 and referenced alleged incidents that occurred between the four-decade span of 1969-2009. This occurred after the Minnesota Child Victims Act was signed into law, which lifted the statute of limitations on these types of crimes.

Victims previously had only three years to sue before the statute of limitations expired, but that has since changed, and the Catholic Church has to pay up as a result. Clergy named in the lawsuits include Msgr. Roger Grundhaus, Fr. Patrick Sullivan, Fr. James Porter, Fr. James Bernauer, Fr. Stanley Bourassa, and Fr. James Vincent Fitzgerald, OMI.

The diocese noted in a press release that most of their expenses from paying off the alleged victims will come from insurance, with the rest being raised from the sale of properties and estate gifts. The Crookston diocese will not take a large financial hit due to this settlement.

“To all victims and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy, as the Bishop of Crookston I apologize for the harm done to you by those entrusted with your spiritual care,” Bp. Michael Hoeppner said in the official statement released by the diocese.

“Although you can never be fully compensated for your suffering, we are thankful this litigation has now come to a good end and are hopeful this settlement offers you justice and will be helpful for healing,” he added.

Hoeppner claims that the diocese is serious about ending sexual abuse within their ranks despite the 15 alleged instances that occurred over the span of four decades in Crookston.

“We can joyfully and steadfastly continue our mission of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to this time and place. We pledge our continued efforts to rid the Church and world of sexual abuse and provide a safe environment for all,” he said to conclude his statement.

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