JEAN HOPFENSPERGER and TONY KENNEDY startribune.com Photo: Audrey Lee, Star Tribune A Catholic priest known by the Archdiocese of St. Paul andMinneapolis for sexual misconduct was sued Thursday — the first of what attorneys say will be multiple lawsuits against him and the archdiocese. The Rev. Jerome C. Kern was accused in a lawsuit of “sexual battery” involving an Edina boy from 1972 to 1976. Kern had been transferred to our Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina in 1969, after parents at his St. Paul church informed the archdiocese that he had sexually fondled their two school-age sons, attorneys said. The lawsuit, in Ramsey County District Court, also names the archdiocese on civil charges related to its transfer of Kern to that church without addressing his alleged problems and without notifying families. The plaintiff, now a man in his 50s, is one of at least 10 people abused by Kern that the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates is aware of, attorney Mike Finnegan said. The firm is preparing three more suits against Kern, he said. “What’s interesting about this case is that Kern has had a low public profile, but already we know about 10 victims,’’ Finnegan said. “At this early stage of the game, that’s a large number.’’
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