Archdiocese Cover Up Highlights Need for ImmediateLaw Enforcement Involvement In Sexual Abuse Cases

Doe 23 courageously filed suit today against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and Father Robert M. Thurner, who allegedly sexually abused Doe 23 in 1984-85 when she was a young girl and student at St. Joseph’s School in West St. Paul. Doe 23 likely would not have had to file this suit – would never have been molested by Thurner  – had the Archdiocese’s hierarchy fulfilled its legal and moral obligations and reported Thurner’s prior admitted sexual abuse of another minor to law enforcement in 1982.

The Archdiocese’s cover up of its priests’ sexual abuse of minors and other related crimes, illustrated in Doe 23’s case and other recent matters – including the Wehmeyer, Shelley and Keating cases – shows that it cannot be trusted to protect children and the community from the predators it employs. The Archdiocese continues to assemble task forces and pay lip service to protecting children but it fails to act with any meaning. In Doe 23’s case, Thurner admitted to Archdiocesan hierarchy, including Archbishop John Roach, in 1982 that he’d sexually abused and supplied alcohol to a minor. Instead of reporting this to law enforcement, which they were legally obligated to do, the hierarchy transferred Thurner to St. Joseph’s parish, and Thurner then abused Doe 23.

We again urge the Archdiocese to immediately provide all documents regarding clergy sexual abuse to law enforcement. We also urge anyone with information regarding clergy sexual abuse to contact the St. Paul Police Department at (651) 291-1111.