St. Cloud Diocese, Priest Sued Over Sex Allegations

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. – A woman is suing the Diocese of St. Cloud in a lawsuit accusing a Catholic priest of sexual misconduct.

The woman was a pastoral associate employed by the diocese. She names the diocese as one of defendants in the lawsuit she filed last month.

The woman contends she was subjected to “unwelcome, offensive and ongoing verbal and physical sexual harassment” by her supervisor, the Rev. Joseph Backowski.

Backowski is pastor of St. Mary of the Presentation Church in Breckenridge and St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Kent. According to the diocese, Backowski has been on administrative leave since early January because of “personal health concerns.”

The St. Cloud Times reports the diocese says Backowski voluntarily began participating in an evaluation and treatment program, which he should conclude in the next month.

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