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Lawsuit Says Montana Church Abuse Spanned Decades

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File photo of a priest holding a rosary. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/GettyImages)

File photo of a priest holding a rosary. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/GettyImages)

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — New claims of sexual and physical abuse by Roman Catholic clerics and nuns spanning decades in eastern Montana have been lodged in state court in Great Falls.

The allegations were detailed in court documents filed Tuesday in a pending lawsuit against the Great Falls-Billings Diocese. They recount abuses against eleven youths at St. Paul’s Mission in Hays, the Cheyenne Home Orphanage, St. Labre Indian school and other diocese-owned sites.

A new defendant — the Illinois-based Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis — was added based on alleged abuse by a nun.

The case is one of four sex-abuse lawsuits against the Catholic church in Montana since last year and the second against the Great Falls-Billings Diocese.

Diocese attorney Greg Hatley says the church has zero tolerance for abuse.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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