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St. Cloud Priest Pleads Guilty To Molesting Girls

Apr 17, 2003 | AP

A former St. Cloud Diocese priest pleaded guilty to molesting a female parishioner and admitted to molesting three others as part of a deal with prosecutors.

All four victims approved the plea agreement for the Rev. Donald Rieder, 78, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall said.

He is the first diocesan priest to be convicted in Stearns County of sex crimes. The deal calls for Rieder's 34-month sentence to be stayed on the condition that he serve a year in jail.

Rieder wanted to begin serving his time immediately. Kendall and Rieder's attorney agreed to set bail at $10,000 and have Rieder spend his time before sentencing in jail rather than free.

Rieder admitted molesting the young girl on several occasions in the early 1990s at St. John Cantius Church, where he served as parish priest.

He also admitted molesting three other females during the mid-1980s two at Cantius and one at her residence. As part of the plea agreement, he won't be charged in those cases.

Kendall said the victims wanted Rieder to serve as much jail time as possible, but they also wanted his admissions and a court order preventing him from having any unsupervised contact with anyone younger than 18.

Five other victims have accused Rieder of sexual abuse making the total number of allegations nine but their claims are outside the statute of limitations and go back to 1965, when Rieder was a priest in Randall.

Rieder also is named in a civil lawsuit from a parishioner who accuses him of abusing her while he was at Cantius.

Stearns County District Court Judge Richard Jessen has ordered a pre-sentence investigation and a sex offender evaluation.

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