Lawsuit alleges abuse by priest

Categories: Around the Diocese

The Visitor

The Diocese of St. Cloud was named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit Oct. 12 alleging that Father Antonio Marfori sexually abused a minor in the late 1970s while he was a part-time instructor at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud.

The suit, which identifies the plaintiff as Doe 75, also names Cathedral High School and Father Marfori as defendants.

After learning of the allegation, Bishop Donald Kettler removed Father Marfori’s priestly faculties, meaning he cannot function or present himself as a priest, while the allegation is investigated, according to a statement from the diocese Oct. 13.

Father Marfori had been assisting the pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Elk River with sacramental ministry. This was not an assignment from the bishop but an agreement between Father Marfori and the parish to provide sacramental assistance in the parish.

There has been no report of sexual misconduct prior to receiving the present complaint, the statement said. The allegation has been reported to law enforcement, and the bishop notified the Diocesan Review Board. Father Marfori has been removed from a parish house owned by St. Andrew Parish in Elk River and will live at a residence owned by the diocese in St. Cloud during the investigation.

In light of the allegation and in line with past practice, Bishop Kettler will hold listening sessions in the near future in areas where Father Marfori 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 Visitor.

Father Marfori was ordained Oct. 7, 1978, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud. He has served the following assignments: part-time associate, St. Francis Xavier, Sartell, and part-time instructor (later instructor and assistant chaplain), Cathedral High School, St. Cloud, 1978-1980; associate pastor, St. Paul, Sauk Centre, 1980-1984; post-graduate studies, 1984-1985; pastor, St. Agnes, Roscoe, 1985-1993; pastor, St. Margaret, Lake Henry (while continuing at St. Agnes), 1987-1993; pastor, St. Pius X, Zimmerman, 1993-2007; pastor, St. Anne, Kimball, 2007-2008; canonical administrator, St. Elizabeth, Brennyville, SS. Peter and Paul, Gilman, and St. Joseph, Morrill, 2008-2010; Leave of absence (medical), 2010.