KSTP.com By: Becky Nahm
A group representing victims of clergy abuse said the local Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis didn’t do enough to protect parishioners from a phony deacon accused of molesting a child.
The group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, gathered Thursday outside of the St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul.
For years, Thomas Kemp lived at the rectory of the church and served as a deacon.
In 2007, a former altar boy, Benjamin Magler, filed suit against Kemp, St. Agnes and the Archdiocese, claiming Kemp abused him. Magler said the abuse started in approximately 1986 when he was in second or third grade and continued for several years.
Magler’s attorney said the boy and his family trusted Kemp because of his position in the church.
Attorney Mike Finnegan said, “He became friends of the family. He was somebody Ben looked up to and unfortunately he hurt Ben real bad.”
SNAP contends the Archdiocese should’ve known Magler was never a deacon and should’ve done more to alert parishioners of the molestation accusations.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese called Kemp a con man. He said when Kemp came to the parish in the 1980s “he identified himself as a deacon and unfortunately no one challenged him on it.”
The spokesman said the church was unaware of any abuse allegations until the suit was filed in 2007.
After learning of the suit, church leaders announced news of the allegations during each church service,
Kemp lives out of state. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS spoke with Kemp’s lawyer who said Kemp never told anyone he was a deacon and denies all abuse allegations.