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Sex-abuse lawsuit names treatment facility as defendant

Catholic World News - November 21, 2013

A Minnesota attorney has filed a sex-abuse lawsuit against the St. Luke Institute in Maryland, charging that staff failed to provide warning that a priest who had been treated there might remain a threat to young people.

Jeffrey Anderson, a lawyer who has pursued scores of sex-abuse charges against Catholic dioceses and religious orders, named the St. Luke Institute as a defendant in a case involving Father Francis Hoefgen. The suit also names the Archdiocese of St. Paul and St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota.

According to the complaint, Father Hoefgen spent 6 months at the St. Luke Institute—the most prominent of several institutions that treated troubled clerics—in 1984 after he admitted to a sexual encounter with a teenage boy. After his return to Minnesota he was assigned to a parish, where he was accused of molesting a younger boy. The suit charges that officials at St. Luke Institute, along those at the archdiocese, had ample reason to believe that Hoefgen was a threat to young people, and withheld that evidence, allowing the later abuse to occur.

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