October 27, 2005

Diocese, woman settle 1973 sex-abuse case

St. Cloud Times

By David Unze

A former parishioner at St. Louis Church in Paynesville has settled a lawsuit against the St. Cloud Diocese in which she accused former priest Donald Rieder of sexually abusing her in 1973.

Susan Fuchs-Hoeschen received $17,500 from the diocese to settle the case, which she acknowledged likely would have been thrown out by the courts because it was filed so long after the abuse. The lawsuit named Rieder as a defendant, but he later was dropped from the case.

"I am pleased and realistic that hopefully other victims will come forward earlier so that they can be successfully litigated," said Fuchs-Hoeschen, who was identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe 54. She agreed to allow the Times to identify her for this article.

She and her attorney knew the lawsuit stood virtually no chance of withstanding a statute of limitations challenge. That law sets limits on how quickly lawsuits must be filed after sexual abuse has occurred. A court hearing had been scheduled before a Stearns County judge to argue that issue when the lawsuit was settled.

Posted by kshaw at October 27, 2005 09:19 AM