MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Nevada man who claims he was sexually abused by an Irish priest sued a diocese in southwestern Minnesota on Monday, saying it knew of past abuse allegations against the Rev. Francis Markey, and failed to warn parents or children.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Minnesota accuses the Diocese of New Ulm of fraud and conspiracy for failing to disclose what it knew about Markey when the priest was assigned there in 1982.
The lawsuit also names as defendants the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland, as well as facilities in the U.S. and Europe where Markey received treatment. The lawsuit claims all the defendants conspired to conceal Markey’s activity from the public, even though it was likely he would reoffend.
“Defendants knew that upon transfer to the Diocese of New Ulm, it was almost predetermined that Fr. Markey, a predator always hunting for children to abuse, would continue to sexually abuse minors,” the lawsuit states.
In a statement Monday, the Diocese of New Ulm said it had just learned of the lawsuit and was reviewing the allegations. Last year, the diocese said Markey had been stripped of his duties in 1982 after parents complained he was overly affectionate with boys, and was sent to treatment.
Markey moved to South Bend, Ind., in 1990 and counseled drug and alcohol abusers. He was arrested there in 2009 on charges that he twice raped a 15-year-old boy in Ireland in 1968. He was extradited to Ireland last year to face those charges.
The Minnesota plaintiff, who is not named in the lawsuit, claims Markey sexually abused him in 1982 in and around the parish of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Granite Falls. He was 8 years old at the time and was receiving training for his Holy Communion from Markey, the lawsuit says.
According to the claim, Markey was ordained in 1952 and began working in the Diocese of Clogher, in Ireland.
Between 1964 and 1974 he was suspended three times amid allegations of child sexual abuse. Each time he was sent to treatment, which the lawsuit claims officials knew was ineffective, and each time he was reinstated as a priest.
He was sent to a facility in Jemez Springs, N.M., for treatment in 1981, and in 1982 he was assigned to New Ulm.
Patrick Noaker, the plaintiff’s attorney, said the hospitals knew Markey was dangerous, yet the defendants worked together to move him around, until he ended up in Granite Falls.
“Basically the parishioners there had no idea that this guy had such a checkered past,” Noaker said. “They weren’t told any of that.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for pain, emotional distress, psychological injuries and other damages.
Noaker said the case is an example of “international trafficking of pedophile priests.”
“It is a global crisis. This is a case that shows these priests were moved to other dioceses, and even to other countries,” Noaker said.
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