Minnesota diocese sues Ireland diocese over priest accused of sex abuse

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First Published Mar 27 2014 12:28 pm • Last Updated Mar 27 2014 08:00 pm

New Ulm, Minn. • In a rare legal move, a Roman Catholic diocese in Minnesota is suing a diocese in Ireland, alleging it transferred a priest to Minnesota without warning that the man had been accused of sexual abuse.

A report by Minnesota Public Radio News and KARE-TV said the Diocese of New Ulm filed the lawsuit in February against the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland and the Servants of the Paraclete religious order.

In it, the New Ulm Diocese claims it never would have accepted the Rev. Francis Xavier Markey in 1981 if it had been told about the allegations against him.

Markey was ordained in Ireland in 1952, and documents in several court cases show he was accused of sexually abusing boys as early as the 1960s. The documents also show he had gone to treatment before coming to the U.S., and also received treatment at a Paraclete facility in New Mexico.

The New Ulm Diocese said Markey arrived in Willmar in December 1981 and did some temporary parish work. He left the diocese seven months later.

The New Ulm Diocese’s lawsuit stems from a claim filed last year by a man who says Markey groped him and his two brothers at their family home in 1982, when Markey was filling in at rural churches in Henderson and Jessenland.

Markey died in 2012 while awaiting trial on child rape charges in Ireland.

An attorney for the religious order told MPR and KARE-TV that he had no knowledge of the latest lawsuit. The Diocese of Clogher didn’t return an email seeking comment from The Associated Press.

But in court documents filed in another Markey case, the Diocese of Clogher said it did not assign Markey to work in Minnesota on its behalf, and it has no record of approving Markey to transfer to any program in Minnesota.

It is one of just a few cases in which Catholic officials have taken court action against others in the church.

1 Response to Minnesota diocese sues Ireland diocese over priest accused of sex abuse

  1. Jane says:


    Ireland is rarely out of the news when it comes to clerical scandal; Caught sight of this article from the British media publication ‘The Guardian’.

    Maynooth College,Ireland’s oldest seminary and only seminary now in operation in the country is in turmoil amid claims of sexual harassment, a culture of gay sex and the use of the gay dating app Grindr in the seminary.

    A number of years ago the Irish seminaries were subject to an ‘Apostolic Visitation’; clearly little if anything has been done in relationship to this ‘culture’ and not fostering a mature vision of sexuality.

    Most of us are no longer surprised.

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