1st settlement reached under new state law that lifted statute of limitations in abuse cases

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MINNEAPOLIS — A man who was molested by a priest in the 1970s has become the first plaintiff to settle under a new state law that opened a three-year window for people to sue over older abuse cases.

Fifty-two-year-old Jon Jaker sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis last year, saying he was an 11-year-old altar boy at St. Leo's Church in St. Paul when the Rev. Thomas Stitts sexually abused him. Stitts died in 1985.

Jaker, who now lives in California, told reporters Wednesday he's ready to go public and is no longer afraid. He says he wants to encourage other victims to come forward.

Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed. But Bishop Andrew Cozzens issued an apology and expressed regret that the archdiocese didn't heed his pleas for help.

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