Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

A 'better place now but it is still there'

Local man shares his story of survival after being molested by a clergyman and its fallout

 

Photo provided

Tim Caroline

After spending hours working in the yard at his Moose Lake home, Tim Caroline of Moose Lake came into the house on Thursday, May 31, and checked his email. One of the emails told the news that a settlement had been reached in the Catholic clergy sex abuse case.

"I was in shock," he said in a recent interview. "I wasn't expecting it so quickly."

Caroline had been involved in the case because he was a survivor of molestation by a Catholic brother 49 years before, as had 449 others that came forward.

In a news report from the New York Times, it stated that the case against the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese began after the Minnesota legislature lifted the statute of limitations on child six abuse cases.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2015 but the case went forward, with the Jeff Anderson and Associates law firm handling the case.

"I shake my head at the number of individuals that came forward," said Caroline. "The law firm discovered 100,000 pages of documents in the Catholic church's files about these cases. I have to believe that they knew that they had damaged a lot of people because of their efforts to keep it quiet."

In a video of the announcement of the settlement by Jeff Anderson, he pointed out that there had been 91 offenders in the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese. He also said that the $210 million settlement holds the church accountable.

"I've maintained all along that pedophiles have an illness," said Caroline. "When they enter the clergy, it is set up for them to prey on women and children. It is sickening to think that the church was hiding that abuse. They would just move the clergy to another parish.

"The hierarchy is the guilty party. The real crime is the church leadership, in my opinion."

The $210 million settlement amount was the second offer.

"The church made an offer earlier," said Caroline. "It wasn't much of anything. Of all 450 survivors the vote was very high that we weren't going to let the church get off that easily. We wanted to make sure that it hurt, that they would never let this happen again."

Even though a settlement has been reached, the process is not over.

"The next step is that we have the opportunity to be heard again," Caroline explained. "We have to vote on the settlement. Jeff Anderson recommends that we accept the proposal.

"And then each of us will meet with one of the attorneys. A neutral third party will look at each of the 450 people. Not all of us have equal stories. We will be put into categories to determine each of our piece of the pie."

Caroline said that some of the survivors were abused repeatedly, where it was just a one-time incident that he suffered. He explained that 40 percent, plus expenses, of the settlement amount will go to the Jeff Anderson law firm.

But that incident in 1969 when he was 12 or 13 has stayed with him all of his life.

"I don't think about it daily but when something like this hits, it all comes back again," he said. "It rears its ugly head again. I go through moments of bad memories.

Caroline said that their family had been very involved in the Catholic church when he was growing up, and he had been an altar boy.

"I was president of the altar boys," he said.

After the abuse, he told his parents.

"They didn't believe me," he said. "Years later, after all of this came out, my mother felt so bad."

This case isn't the first time that Caroline has gone to the Catholic church with his story.

"It was 2002 when I brought it forward to the Christian Brothers organization," he said. "At the same time I brought it to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

"I found out that Brother Rose, who had molested me, had molested other children. They basically confirmed that he had molested other kids."

Caroline's involvement with the Jeff Anderson law firm began in 2009.

"My sister read an article about Brother Rose," Caroline recalled. "A John Doe had gone to the Anderson law firm. She said that his story matched mine so perfectly that she wondered if I was the John Doe.

"I called the newspaper reporter and told him to tell John Doe that I believed his story.

"I think that my sister contacted Jeff Anderson. And then he called me.

"I never in my mind considered going the legal route. But I found that there is power in numbers. Change can happen when we band together."

Caroline explained that the insurance companies that covered the Catholic church will pay the bulk of the settlement.

"Typically, insurance companies only pay if there is an accident," he said. "This was no accident. The insurance companies fought this for a long time but they are taking the brunt of it."

Caroline feels relief that the case is over.

"A settlement is nice but it doesn't erase anything," he said. "I feel a happiness because it is over. Some good came out of it. Has it made a difference? Personally, it is always going to be there. I'm in a better place now but it is still there."

When asked what he was going to do with the settlement funds that he receives, Caroline said that he doesn't know.

"I have gotten a settlement from the Christian Brothers so that will be subtracted from any settlement that I receive from this case. I just don't know how this settlement will work out. But it wasn't about the money, it was about accountability."

Caroline said that, after he posted news of the settlement on Facebook, he received many messages of support from friends and family.

"I was overwhelmed by the responses on Facebook," he said. "It was powerful, very powerful. I wasn't prepared for that."

And his family has been very supportive through the years.

"My family has been nothing but supportive," he said. "It is unbelievable."

 

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