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Woman files suit against archdiocese, alleges sexual abuse

Another priest criticizes Nienstedt; food assistance affects one in 10; state pays legal fees in union case; gun supporters launch PAC; animal rights group’s undercover video; Andrew, Hodges lead fundraising; and more.

Another day, another lawsuit filed against the archdiocese. Madeleine Baran of MPR reports: “A Minnesota woman sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis [Tuesday] for allegedly failing to protect her from an abusive priest. The woman said she was sexually abused by the Rev. Robert Thurner at St. Joseph Catholic Church in West St. Paul when she was seven to eight years old. She is not named in the complaint, which was brought under a new state law that gives victims more time to sue. … Internal church documents released by attorneys representing the woman show top church leaders knew in 1982 that Thurner had sexually abused a minor. … The lawsuit filed today seeks damages and asks a judge to unseal a list of 33 priests accused of abuse. Lawyers for the archdiocese had provided the names in an earlier Ramsey County civil case, but a judge ordered the names be kept private.”

Baran also reports: “A popular St. Paul priest on Sunday accused Archbishop John Nienstedt of arrogance and demanded an explanation for the clergy sexual abuse scandal. ‘He needs to stand before us and explain himself,’ the Rev. Stephen O’Gara, pastor of the Church of the Assumption, said in a Sunday homily. ‘Only then will we have the respect called to his office. It’s about arrogance, and we all fall victim to arrogance in some degree or in some place in our lives. But this is more. This is not some small matter. This is a big deal. It’s the first time, I must say, in 69 years that I’m embarrassed to be Catholic.’ ”    

Plenty of demand, little supply … Jennifer Brooks of the Strib says: “More than 554,000 Minnesotans get federal food assistance — one out of every 10 people in the state. A third are children. Another quarter are elderly or disabled adults. Contrary to popular stereotypes, a majority live in families where at least one adult earns a paycheck. This week, their food budget rests in the hands of Senate and House negotiators, who are about to begin debate on the massive farm bill that will set the budget for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), still commonly known to many as food stamps. Republicans, concerned that the program has become far too expansive and expensive, are pushing for $40 billion in cuts to SNAP, which currently feeds 48 million Americans.”

The AP reports: “The state of Minnesota has paid a $60,000 settlement in attorney fees to a group of child care workers who blocked a unionization effort for some home-based providers. Attorney Doug Seaton represents a group of day care operators who blocked the unionization vote ordered by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2011. Seaton says his law firm received the money Monday. Seaton had been seeking $214,000. He acknowledges the $60,000 settlement is a compromise but says ‘we’re satisfied about the outcome.’ “

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You can absolutely rely on some folks … Mike Mullen at Politics in Minnesota writes: “A new political action committee dedicated to supporting pro-Second Amendment candidates in Minnesota elections launched on Tuesday. The Minnesota Gun Owners PAC plans to raise and spend money, as well as endorse and rate candidates based on their positions regarding gun control. The PAC’s formation was inspired by a contentious effort to pass enhanced gun restrictions during the 2013 legislative session. … Despite that failure, gun control advocates have pledged to be ready to revisit the topic during next year’s session. So, too, will strong supporters of the Second Amendment.” I believe “strong” counts as a euphemism.

Of course you never want to see what goes on in a slaughterhouse, either. Bill Hudson at WCCO-TV reports on an animal rights group’s undercover video of a Minnesota hog operation: “A California-based animal rights group is calling on Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, to stop buying pork from a Minnesota producer. Mercy For Animals went undercover at a hog farm in Pipestone and recorded gruesome images they say proves their point. For 10 weeks a Mercy For Animals activist shot undercover video inside Pipestone System’s Rosewood Farm. The video captures hog handling practices by several workers that the group says constitute animal cruelty. According to Matt Rice, MFA’s director of investigations, the activist ‘saw workers slamming conscious piglets headfirst into the concrete to kill them.’ ”

This is intriguing … Jim Adams and James Walsh of the Strib report: “A Japanese medical technology company with operations worldwide is a step closer to opening a $35.8 million manufacturing plant in Brooklyn Park that could eventually employ as many as 350 people. Olympus Surgical Technologies America, working with Ryan Cos., plans to consolidate operations from five locations in Maple Grove at a new Surgical Innovation Center to be built at a site near Hwy. 610. The site is one of four finalists emerging after a national search. If Olympus gives final approval to the Brooklyn Park site, which could come in the next few weeks, construction could begin in early December and the 180,000-square-foot innovation center would open next September.”

Usually it’s money that matters … Maya Rao and Eric Roper of the Strib write: “Two Minneapolis mayoral candidates are dominating the fundraising race less than a week left before Election Day. Mark Andrew, Betsy Hodges and supporting groups have raised more than half of the $1.6 million that has poured into the hotly contested mayor’s race, according to campaign finance reports released Tuesday. Independent groups that can raise and spend unlimited funds have buttressed traditional fundraising in the race, paying for a barrage of advertising. The top fundraiser by far was Andrew, a former Hennepin County commissioner. His campaign has brought in $420,280 … . Andrew’s campaign spending is rivaled only by independent Dan Cohen, who has shelled out about $320,000 of his own money on the race so far.”

The latest Strib endorsements … “10th Ward: In seeking a second term despite being denied DFL endorsement, Meg Tuthill is offering Uptown residents an often underappreciated asset — City Council seniority, and the experience and clout that go with it. … Ninth Ward: DFL endorsee Alondra Cano gets our nod in the Ninth Ward’s six-way race … 11th Ward: Incumbent John Quincy, 51, is seeking a second term and deserves to be re-elected. He is endorsed by the DFL Party, TakeAction Minnesota and several major unions.”