Allegation: Priest with 50-year record of abuse only removed from service last year

Yet another … hit on the archdiocese, Rev. Kevin McDonough in particular. Says Emily Gurnon in the PiPress, “The Rev. Kenneth LaVan began sexually abusing girls with his first parish assignment in the 1960s, and later threatened to burn down a woman’s house and have her husband killed — yet he was not removed from active ministry in the Twin Cities until last year, according to court and internal church records. The Rev. Kevin McDonough told then-Archbishop Harry Flynn in 2005 that, while he knew of LaVan’s ‘boundary violations with adult females, I had forgotten that there were two allegations in the late 1980s concerning sexual involvement with teenaged girls.’ “

Points for going after the biggest dog on the block … Says Randy Furst in the Strib, “An attorney from a prominent Minneapolis law firm that specializes in class action lawsuits has filed suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Big Ten Conference and other major conferences, accusing them of reaping billions of dollars from the sweat of student athletes in violation of federal antitrust laws.”

One local family claims to have lost nine relatives to the ebola outbreak in west Africa. Jonathan Choe of KMSP-TV says, “Many of the Liberian immigrants in Minnesota are losing parents, siblings and friends to the deadly virus, and their suffering is evident. Cynthia Sangbai-Kwennah told Fox 9 News she has lost 9 family members since the deadly Ebola outbreak erupted in her home country of Liberia. She explained that in June, doctors diagnosed her 61-year-old father with malaria and typhoid; however, as close family members started to spend time taking care of him, they also started to get sick. Although her loved ones were showing symptoms of fever and began vomiting, it wasn’t until her father died weeks later that doctors realized he had the Ebola virus … .”

Rachel Stassen-Berger and Maya Rao of the Strib serve up a Monday-before-primary recap. Among the notes: “[Jenifer] Loon has raised about $90,000 for her campaign, edging out most incumbents. She’s also drawn support from a new political action committee. The Freedom Minnesota PAC has raised $25,000 from wealthy gay marriage supporters across the county.”

Colleague Patrick Condon covers GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour at the suddenly polarizing Oasis Cafe in Stillwater. “Honour, an Orono businessman, did breakfast at the Oasis Cafe in Stillwater and talked about state tax policy and jobs with the owner. The Oasis generated a lot of media attention last week for announcing a 35-cent ‘minimum wage fee’ on its customer tabs. Honour’s campaign said the cafe’s owner, Craig Beemer, lives in Wisconsin so won’t be able to vote in the primary, but that after the visit he said he supported Honour’s bid.”

Also watching (and recapping) the race for Governor is MPR’s Tom Scheck. He includes this in his round-up of the key GOP players. “[Kurt] Zellers served as House speaker in 2011. That year, Zellers and other Republicans in the Legislature refused Gov. Dayton’s demands to raise taxes to balance the state budget. Zellers is telling voters that he won that staredown. ‘I think Republicans are looking at this and saying ‘who’s the guy who faced down Gov. Dayton and balanced the budget when he said it couldn’t be done?’ “

Odd and deadly event at a gas station in Arden Hills… . The WCCO-TV story says, “Josh Polis was parked in front of the BMW and saw the shooting happen. ‘When the guy in the backseat saw the pistol, he turned around and the driver shot him in the back and the victim fell to the ground. The guy just stepped over the top of him and fired a couple more times — once right in the head. He got back in the BMW. He sat there for 20 or 30 seconds, for some reason, I can’t figure out why. But then he drove off and drove over the guy’s body,’ Polis, a witness, said.”

As for closing the “racial equity gap” in Minneapolis. Curtis Gilbert of MPR says the city has 10 ideas … . “Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has made improving racial equity her number-one goal, but she’s made few concrete proposals to achieve it. That may change Thursday when she gives her first budget address. In preparing for the speech, Hodges asked all city departments what they could do to ‘move the dial on equity’ and what it would cost. … 3. Free iPads Cost: $1.5 million. The city’s Information Technology department says it could move 1,000 families into the ‘digital society’ by providing them with iPads and a year of free internet access. The proposal also includes two walk-in support centers to help digital novices figure out how to operate the devices.”

Worth staying up for tonight … . Paul Huttner at MPR writes, “The brightest supermoon in 20 years and the annual Perseid meteor shower will team up the next two nights. The combination of these two celestial events and a crisp clean and dry Canadian air mass overhead could make for some of the best sky watching over Minnesota in years.” Where’s my “Dark Side of the Moon” CD?

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by tim johnson on 08/11/2014 - 06:18 pm.

    good reporting, bad archbishop in saint loooey

    Prize-worthy reporting by Gurnon again on this, and a smoking gun that should get the archbishop of St. Louis – who used to be South Dakota bishop, no? – fired by pope yesterday: “…find a suitable cover story….”

    “Schoener’s examination of LaVan came after reports of his involvement with several women. An adult parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Lake St. Croix Beach, where LaVan was assigned from 1983 to 1985, told Bishop Robert Carlson that LaVan “became very upset” when she ended a sexual relationship between them.

    LaVan harassed the family, “frequently went up and down in front of their house and surprised (her) on the beach,” according to a 1985 memo from Carlson to then-Archbishop John Roach. The woman’s husband confronted him and told him to leave them alone.

    “The next Sunday Father LaVan preached a sermon on those who would not forgive,” and asked a fellow priest to invite the woman to the rectory, Carlson wrote.

    When she continued to rebuff him, LaVan “mentioned a threat about possibly burning down the house … ‘or have your husband murdered, but I am not that kind of person,’ ” Carlson quoted LaVan as saying.

    Carlson urged Roach: “If we don’t want this to build into a real problem it is my recommendation that we accept Father LaVan’s resignation from the parish, find a suitable cover story and get him into an in-patient treatment program … so that this thing does not blow up.”

    Carlson is now archbishop in the Diocese of St. Louis, Mo.

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