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Dave Roepke, Published May 06 2010

Fifth North Dakota lawsuit filed against ex-Shanley teacher

A fifth North Dakota lawsuit claiming that an ex-teacher at Shanley High School molested a teenage boy was filed Wednesday, the same day a judge ruled that one of the earlier lawsuits can continue forward.

Like four other lawsuits in Cass County District Court and another 10 in Minnesota, the civil complaint accuses a former religion teacher at Shanley of sexually assaulting the alleged victim in his sleep during a trip to Minneapolis in 1978 that the plaintiff says was school-sponsored.

Patrick Noaker, a lawyer for the anonymous plaintiff, said the boy was 13 years old when he contends he was molested by Raimond Rose, who taught at Shanley from 1976 to 1980.

“It’s a very sad story,” Noaker said. “He grew up thinking there was something wrong with him.”

The lawsuit names Rose, Shanley, Fargo’s Catholic Diocese and the Chicago-based religious order of which Rose is a member – Christian Brothers of the Midwest – as defendants.

Noaker said that Shanley and the diocese should not have allowed Rose to be near children because they knew he’d been accused of sexually assaulting boys. The plaintiff claims that a complaint was lodged with the Christian Brothers in 1966 and with Shanley in 1977.

None of the defendants have talked publicly about the lawsuits’ allegations. In court filings, lawyers who represent the diocese and Shanley and those for the Christian Brothers have denied knowing of prior accusations against Rose.

In a hearing Wednesday in an earlier Rose lawsuit, Charles Goldberg, an attorney for Shanley and the diocese, said they’ve asked for but not received details about the 1977 report referenced in the latest cases.

Rose has never been convicted of a sex-abuse crime, but in court filings he has not addressed the accusations, instead invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

Lawyers for the diocese and Shanley and those for the Christian Brothers also have sought to get the cases dismissed, arguing that they don’t state a claim and that First Amendment religion freedoms bar courts from hearing the matters.

After hearing arguments on a motion to dismiss by the diocesan defendants on Wednesday, Judge Douglas Herman ruled the lawsuit filed Jan. 26 by Paul Mehl can continue, though he said the issues raised are bound to come up again.

Herman said his ruling only meant it’s possible the plaintiff could back up his legal claims. He said other arguments that will surely be raised, such as the time limits for filing the lawsuit, haven’t been broached yet.

“I know the heavy lifting is ahead of us,” he said.

It marked the third Rose case in North Dakota in which a dismissal motion has been denied.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535