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Court: Suit against Archdiocese falls outside statute of limitations

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A Minnesota man who says he was molested by a Catholic priest in the 1980s is calling on the Legislature to extend the statute of limitations in cases like his.

James Keenan of Savage sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona, alleging abuse in the 1980s by Thomas Adamson, a priest who is now defrocked.

The Minnesota Supreme Court threw out Keenan's lawsuit Wednesday, saying it came nearly two decades too late. The court ruled the six-year statute of limitations still applies. 

Although outside the statute of limitations, Keenan argued that his claim it should be allowed because he repressed memories of the abuse. A district court rejected that claim, but the state Court of Appeals revived it.

Keenan said the law needs to change.

"Do you really think that a criminal who abuses a child should just have to wait a certain amount of years and then they can go, 'got away with that one,'" Keenan said. "That's what we do in the state of Minnesota. That's not fair."

In the late 1980s, the church paid out a number of settlements to Adamson's victims. He was defrocked.

The Diocese of Winona says it's pleased with the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that rejected a clergy abuse lawsuit by a man whose case rested on a repressed memory claim.

In a statement released Thursday, the diocese says it is committed to ensuring the safety of children and young people at its parishes, schools and other programs.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis also issued a statement Thursday, saying the archdiocese "deeply regrets" any pain or harm caused by Adamson. The archdiocese says it is "completely committed" to ensuring the safety of children and young people.

Written with material from The Associated Press.