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Published Thursday, November 07, 2013

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Twin Cities archdiocese faces another sex lawsuit

The Associated Press - ST. PAUL, Minn.

A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that officials in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis allowed a priest to continue working with children despite reports that he sexually abused children as early as 1969.

Attorney Jeff Anderson filed the lawsuit against the Rev. Jerome Kern and the archdiocese.

The lawsuit was brought by a man in his 50s named in court records as "Doe 26," Minnesota Public Radio News ( http://bit.ly/HLMvi4) reported. The man alleges Kern sexually abused him in the 1970s when the accuser was 12 to 16 years old.

Despite reports to archdiocesan officials over the years, the Roman Catholic church moved Kern from parish to parish rather than barring him from ministry, Anderson said.

"Promises were made to the moms and to the kids that something would be done and he would be removed," Anderson said. "Instead, those promises were broken."

In a statement, the archdiocese said it will investigate and respond to the claims. Kern was removed from ministry in 2002 and has been compliant with a monitoring program, the archdiocese said.

"We are completely committed to ensuring the safety of children and young people who have been entrusted to our care," the archdiocese said.

Kern was named in a previous sexual abuse lawsuit that was settled about 20 years ago, MPR reported.

Kern, now 72, did not immediately return a phone call Thursday seeking comment. He worked at St. Mark in St. Paul, Our Lady of Grace in Edina, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Minnetonka and St. Peter in Forest Lake.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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