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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Former Granite Falls man files lawsuit against New Ulm Diocese

  • A sexual abuse lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a former Granite Falls man who was allegedly abused by the Rev. Francis Markey at St. Andrews Parish in 1982.
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    A sexual abuse lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a former Granite Falls man who was allegedly abused by the Rev. Francis Markey at St. Andrews Parish in 1982.
    According to the Mankato Free Press, the lawsuit was filed by Jeff Anderson and Associates, the self-proclaimed nation’s premier law firm representing childhood sexual abuse victims, the Wednesday before last in New Ulm, and includes a request that all names of priests accused of abusing children in the New Ulm Diocese of the Catholic Church be released.
    In 2011, the claimant filed a similar lawsuit that was dismissed for procedural reasons.
    The diocese as well as the Servants of Paracletes has been named as defendants in the newest case. The suit alleges that both institutions exhibited negligence in failing to supervise Markey and for allowing him to work in communities with children.
    The accusations regarding Markey first surfaced in March of 2009 when CNN used Granite Falls as the setting for a Special Investigation Report revolving around the then 82-year-old Markey who was assigned as interim priest at St. Andrews Catholic Church for three months in 1982. In 2008 Markey was charged with the rape of a 15-year-old boy that allegedly occurred in Ireland 40 years ago.
    The report stated that  Markey was first suspended as a priest for unidentified reasons in 1964 and sent for psychiatric treatment in Dublin. Throughout the 60s and 70s he underwent suspension and subsequent treatment a total of three times. Eventually, he was sent to the Servants of Paracletes, a religious congregation of men dedicated to ministry to priests with personal difficulties, in New Mexico.
    According to the New Ulm Diocese, Markey arrived in Willmar in December of 1981 where he applied and was accepted into the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Willmar Hospital. While participating in the program he did parish work in the Diocese, including the three month stint at St. Andrews, when the alleged altercation was to have happened. No one from St. Andrews had been informed of Markey’s past.
    In its report, CNN interviewed the former Granite Falls resident who is now said to reside in Nevada. During the interview, the man said that he was assaulted by Markey as an eight year old at the priest’s home, formerly located across the street from St. Andrews.
    Requesting anonymity in order to save his family from embarrassment, the individual said that he was leaving Markey’s home as a child when, “he gave me a hug and as he did so he stuck his tongue down my throat ... he had been drinking ... I can’t say if he was drunk but he was definitely drinking.”
    Page 2 of 2 - According to then St. Andrew Parish Council President Jim Almich, following the alleged incident Markey left Granite Falls two weeks prior to his scheduled  departure as the interim pastor. Neither  Markey nor the Diocese gave a clear indication as to why he was leaving early, and Almich noted that no one at St. Andrew was aware of what was said to have transpired.
    According to the diocese,  Markey left the Diocese of New Ulm in June of 1982 and “did not live in or serve diocese in any capacity” thereafter.
    “The Diocese of New Ulm deeply regrets the long-lasting and devastating effects of sexual misconduct on the part of clergy,” read a statement from the diocese. “Such misconduct requires positive action on our part, and we have been strengthening our systems and procedures in order to address this grave issue.”
    The lawsuit states that in 2003 the diocese publically admitted that there were 12 priests who had worked within the diocese and been accused of sexual abuse, but that it would not release the names.
    The push to reveal the names comes in the wake of the release of  a list of 34 priests with credible abuse allegations by the Archdioceses of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a list of 14 priests with credible abuse allegations by the Diocese of Winona and a list of 18 monks likely to have offended against minors by St. John’s Abbey.
    Markey moved to South Bend, Indiana in 1990 where he counseled drug and alcohol abusers before he was arrested and extradited to Ireland  in 2009 to face charges in relation to his alleged rape of the aforementioned 15-year-old boy. There, Markey would die in 2012 prior to the start of the trial.

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