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Lawsuit accuses former Shanley teacher of sexual abuse

FARGO -- A civil lawsuit accusing a former teacher at Fargo's Shanley High School of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy was filed in Cass County District Court on Tuesday.

It marks the first North Dakota civil action against Brother Raimond Rose of the Christian Brothers of the Midwest, though five suits accusing him of sexual abuse are pending in Minnesota, and a California case was settled in 2003 out of court for $1.1 million.

"This guy was incredibly prolific," said Patrick Noaker, the St. Paul attorney who filed the lawsuit.

The plaintiff, 47-year-old David Gaffaney, alleges in the lawsuit that on a 1977 Shanley-sponsored trip to Orlando, Fla., Rose touched the 14-year-old Gaffaney in an inappropriate manner while he was sleeping.

Gaffaney's attorneys say in the civil complaint that because a student from De La Salle High School in Minneapolis complained of Rose abusing him in 1966, Christian Brothers had a duty to keep Rose away from children.

"It should have stopped there," Noaker said.

Rose, who hasn't publicly commented on the series of abuse allegations, has not been charged with a crime linked to any of the abuse allegations, Noaker said.

Brother Francis Carr of the Christian Brothers said in a written release that, "given our dedication to educating youth, we are deeply saddened to learn that another complaint has been filed stemming from sexual abuse that occurred in 1977 by Brother Raimond Rose."

Carr declined to answer questions about the case because he hasn't seen the lawsuit, but he said in the statement that Rose hasn't been active in the ministry since 2002 and hasn't had contact with minors since that time.

Noaker said Rose lives near an all-boys Catholic school in Chicago and appears to still have some role in the Catholic order's ministry.

Shanley High School, the Catholic Diocese of Fargo and Bishop Samuel Aquila are all named in the civil suit as defendants.

The Rev. Joseph Goering, vicar general of the Fargo Catholic Diocese, read a statement late Tuesday regarding the diocese's policy on reporting sexual abuse. He did not take questions.

"We regret that the plaintiff in this matter has seen fit to choose to file suit rather than to seek a pastoral resolution," Goering said in the statement.

Rose worked for Shanley High School from 1976 to 1980, Goering said.

Shanley Superintendent Kyle Edgerton did not return phone messages seeking comment on Tuesday.

The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 in damages, which Noaker said would pay for counseling Gaffaney needs to recover from the alleged abuse. He also wants to make sure Rose is never again able to abuse children, his lawyer said.

Noaker also said the abuse claims are being investigated by police in Fargo. A police spokesman, Sgt. Mark Lykken, didn't return a call concerning the allegations.