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Judge splits clergy sex abuse trial into 2 separate phases for nuisance and negligence claims

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — A judge has split an upcoming clergy sex abuse trial against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona into two separate phases.

The plaintiff, identified only as Doe 1, alleges that church leaders created a "public nuisance" by failing to warn parishioners about a priest who sexually abused him in the 1970s. The case has already led to the unprecedented mass disclosures of church documents and names of accused priests.

In an order Monday, Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North said he'll conduct a bench trial on Doe 1's public nuisance claim starting Nov. 3. Rebuttal evidence and closing arguments are set for Dec. 8-9.

The defendant's negligence claims will get a separate jury trial, set to begin with jury selection Jan. 5.

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