Appeals court upholds dismissal of St. John’s Prep sex abuse suit

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ST. PAUL – The state Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former St. John’s Preparatory School student who accused a St. John’s Abbey priest of sexual abuse.

The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s ruling that Bill Quenroe filed his lawsuit against the Rev. Dunstan Moorse after the statute of limitations had expired.

The three-judge appeals panel issued its opinion last week, and the Court of Appeals posted it on its Web site Tuesday. Quenroe’s lawyer, Jeff Anderson, said he is considering another appeal.

Quenroe accused Moorse of sexually abusing him in 1981 when Quenroe was a student at St. John’s Prep and Moorse was a teacher and spiritual adviser there.

Quenroe signed a statement in 1992 outlining the alleged abuse and met with then-Abbot Timothy Kelly in 1995 to discuss financial assistance for the injuries Quenroe said he sustained. That shows Quenroe understood then that the alleged abuse had caused him harm, defense attorneys argued.

Therefore, defense attorneys argued, Quenroe had to file the lawsuit by the end of 1998, and no later than 2001, for it to fall within the statute of limitations.

The lawsuit was filed in June 2002.

Anderson argued Quenroe had developed coping mechanisms that made him incapable of realizing the resulting damages from Moorse’s conduct until recently. He also argued the abbey and Moorse fraudulently concealed their conduct, thereby delaying when the clock should start running on the statute of limitations.

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Topics: Dunstan Moorse, Jeff Anderson, Timothy Kelly

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