MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — A man who was sexually abused by a priest in 1976 can move forward with his claim that the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese created a public nuisance by failing to warn the public about a problem priest.

In a written order filed Tuesday, Ramsey County Judge John Van de North says a reasonable jury could find that the archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona permitted a situation that endangered public safety.

The case is scheduled for trial on Nov. 3.

Lawyers for the church argued this case doesn’t meet the criteria for a public nuisance claim, and they asked that it be dismissed.

But Van de North disagreed, saying failing to disclose information about an accused priest is conceivably more dangerous than other acts that have been considered public nuisances.

SNAP, a nationwide support group for clergy abuse victims, released a statement saying that the decision would “send alarm bells” among Minnesota’s employers and child molesters.

“This ruling is another encouraging sign that long-standing patterns of dangerous deference to powerful institutions is waning and that long-overdue practices of child protection are growing,” the group said in the statement.

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