Lawsuit filed over St. Cloud diocese priest list

A Sartell man has asked a Stearns County court to order the Diocese of Saint Cloud to release a list of 26 priests church officials say are credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Robert Ethen, 61, said he was abused in the mid-1960s by the Rev. James Thoennes. Ethen said the abuse occurred when he was 13 years old, while on an overnight trip with Thoennes to the home of the priest's mother in Sauk Centre.

Ethen, who settled his case in the 1990s and is prohibited from talking about the terms. But he decided to file a public nuisance suit against the diocese this week to protect other potential victims.

"It's going to help me to hopefully end this, but the toll it's going to take on me personally, I'm willing to put up with that because sometimes you have to do things that are hard to do to make a difference," he said. "And that's why I'm doing it. It's nothing monetary. I don't want anything. I want the list of the names."

"It's really simply to make the public aware, to make sure that the people know who poses the risk of harm," said Jeff Anderson, Ethen's attorney. "To help those survivors who have been harmed by the clerics on that list to know that they're not alone, and they can get help, and they should come forward."

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Saint Cloud says she can't comment because she hasn't had time to review the lawsuit. Jane Marrin, a spokeswoman or the Diocese of Saint Cloud, said she could not comment on the suit.

Last month the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese and the Winona diocese released lists of accused priests after Ramsey County Judge John Van de North ordered them to do so. The Duluth diocese also released a list in advance of a judge's ruling.

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