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More lawsuits filed against priest with Lafayette ties

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WLFI) – A priest with Lafayette ties is the target of two more civil lawsuits involving allegations of sexual abuse.

The suits allege the abuse between 1979 and 1981 at the Crosier Seminary in Minnesota involving Father Gerald Funcheon and several other clergy members.

According to the attorney for the plaintiffs, “Funcheon is accused of sexually abusing many children in several states.”

Funcheon was a graduate student at Purdue University and provided weekend pastoral assistance from 1969-70. He later was assigned to St. Ann’s and Central Catholic High School from 1986-87. He became a priest for the Lafayette diocese in 1987.

Lafayette Diocese Communications Director Kevin Cullen tells WISH-TV’s sister station WLFI that in 1992, the bishop became aware of earlier allegations. At that time, following Vatican protocols, Funcheon was removed from the public ministry and has not exercised it since 1992. When notices were published locally for victims to come forward, no allegations were received.

Funcheon is on the list of credibly accused clergy made public by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Crosier religious order.

The victims brought their lawsuits under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which gives child sexual abuse victims until next May to file civil lawsuits.

Funcheon currently lives at St. John Vianney Renewal Center in Missouri, funded by the Diocese of Lafayette.

When asked why they are funding Funcheon, Cullen said, “the Diocese of Lafayette continues to follow Vatican protocols. Father Funcheon has accepted a life of prayer and penance, with no public ministry. He lives in a supervised setting with no contact with children. He remains in the custodial care of the church. If he had been laicized, he would no longer be under the custodial care of the church.”