Three year lifting of civil statute of limitations on historical claims of abuse ends today.
(NOTE: Following the release of this information on May 25, 2016, three final claims were filed by the day's end. The current number of claims against the Diocese of New Ulm is 101).
NEW ULM - The Diocese of New Ulm is engaged in a day of prayer today, the final day to make a civil sexual abuse claim under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. Bishop John LeVoir is calling on all local Catholics to pray for healing, reconciliation, and hope.
“Today is a day to remember in prayer all those harmed through abuse by priests or others in Church ministry,” said Bishop LeVoir. “It is a time to recommit to efforts to prevent the abuse of the vulnerable and to vow never to forget the lessons of this tragic chapter in Church history.”
As of the end of the day on May 24, the Diocese of New Ulm and parishes within the Diocese had received claims from 98 victims and survivors under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which temporarily lifted the civil statute of limitations for historic claims of sexual abuse of a minor. Of the Diocese’s 75 parishes, 28 are named in claims.
The Diocese will continue to work closely with the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates and other representatives of victims and survivors as the aggrieved move forward in their healing journey. The Diocese and Jeff Anderson & Associates have committed to taking the time necessary, working together, to come to a fair resolution of claims that allows the work of the Church to continue while promoting healing.
“The Diocese is committed to helping victims and survivors in healing and protecting children and young people from abuse,” said Bishop LeVoir. “I apologize on behalf of the Church to victims and survivors of sexual abuse by priests.”
“The release of names and the Diocese’s efforts since then demonstrate a willingness by the Diocese of New Ulm to be transparent about clergy who have abused children,” said Jeff Anderson, referring to the Diocese’s March 2016 release of the names of 16 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children. “We will continue to work together to put this commitment to transparency and healing into action.”
While the period for filing civil claims on historical abuse ends today, the Diocese continues to encourage anyone who has suffered sexual abuse or exploitation by a priest or anyone else involved in Church ministry in the Diocese of New Ulm immediately to report such misconduct to local law enforcement, regardless of when the misconduct occurred.
Victims and survivors of abuse in the Church are also encouraged to contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 1421 6th Street North, New Ulm, MN 56073 or 507-233-5313 for counseling or other assistance in healing.
The Diocese is considering all options for fairly resolving the claims made against it, including reorganization under the bankruptcy laws. However, diocesan leaders do not foresee any imminent decision in this regard.
Parishioners and Catholic school families are being informed of the claims against parishes. It is not expected that the clai ms will affect the normal operations of parishes or Catholic schools in the Diocese.
More information about healing resources, the Diocese’s response to claims, names of priests accused of abuse, and safeguards put in place to protect children can be found at www.dnu.org.