Diocese named in two lawsuits alleging abuse

Categories: Around the Diocese

The Visitor

The Diocese of St. Cloud has been named in two civil lawsuits alleging that Father Donald Rieder sexually abused two minors in the 1960s while he was assigned at St. James Parish in Randall and St. Anne Parish in Kimball.

In January 2014, Bishop Donald Kettler included Father Rieder on a list he released to the public of 33 clergy likely involved in the sexual abuse of minors in the past.

Father Rieder was ordained in 1955 and served at St. Mary, Alexandria (1955-1958); St. James, Randall (1958-1964); St. Anne, Kimball (1964-1969); Assumption, Morris (1969-1970); St. Agnes, Roscoe (1970-1971); St. Louis, Paynesville (1971-1976); chaplain, St. Gabriel’s Hospital, Little Falls (1977-1984); St. Stanislaus, Sobieski (1980-1985); and St. John Cantius, St. Cloud (1985-1995). After his retirement, he volunteered as a chaplain at St. Cloud Hospital on his own initiative and not by appointment.

When an allegation against Father Rieder came forward in 2002, Bishop John Kinney removed him from all public ministry, the diocese said in a statement Aug. 25. Following that allegation, the bishop convened listening sessions at the parishes in which Father Rieder served; however, listening sessions scheduled twice in Randall were canceled because of inclement weather.

Criminal charges also were filed against Rieder and he was convicted after pleading guilty in 2003 and served time in jail. After his release, he lived under restrictions. He died in 2013.

In light of the two new allegations, Bishop Kettler will hold listening sessions for the parish communities where Father Rieder served. When the schedule and specific locations for the sessions are determined, they will be announced in parish bulletins and from the pulpit; they also will be published on the diocese’s website (www.stclouddiocese.org) and in the diocesan newspaper, The Visitor.

Bishop Kettler encourages all victims of abuse to come forward. Contact information for victim advocates and county officials to whom abuse can be reported is available on the diocesan website by scrolling over “About Us” and then “Safe Environment” and clicking on “How to Report Abuse.”