ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KMSP) - Two new lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud. Two women are claiming the diocese did nothing after they reported they were being sexually abused by father Donald Rieder, who is now deceased.
The lawsuits, filed at the Stearns County Courthouse, allege father Rieder was simply transferred to other churches when the sexual abuse was reported, allowing the abuse to continue.
The women claimed they were sexually abused by Rieder in the 1960's -- and the diocese allegedly did nothing to stop the abuse. It’s a story Susan Fuchs-Hoeschman is familiar with, as she settled a lawsuit with the diocese back in the 1990's.
“I’m here to represent the survivors who filed suit who didn’t feel they could safely be here today,” Fuchs-Hoeschman said.
The unidentified women claim father Rieder sexually abused them between the ages of 11 to 15. The abuse occurred in after-school programs or in a situation where he was alone with children. Fuchs-Hoeschem said there are many victims of Rieder's that have yet to come forward.
“It was an after school religion class opportunity he had access to children in the darkened church, even people who were sexually fondled at the communion rail,” she said.
Attorney Jeff Anderson said both mothers of the unnamed victims reported the abuse to the diocese, but that father Rieder was simply moved from St. James church in Randall, Minn. to St. Anne's Church in Kimball. He's asking for the files of all the accused to be released.
“If they really cared they'd take some action and they'd disclose those files, those names those histories and those top officials who knew,” Anderson said.
The Child Victims Act allows victims of priest abuse to come forward and file lawsuits until May of 2016.
“Every time we get the files from anywhere in the state we find out there were lots of things that were hidden, lots of information we should have gotten,” attorney Mike Bryant said.
Fuchs-Hoeschman is encouraging others to step out – “I wanna tell you it is safe, we are coming out, and we will be heard.”