ST. CLOUD (AP) - A Stearns County judge is allowing a public nuisance claim to proceed against the Diocese of St. Cloud.

The claim is part of a lawsuit by a man who accuses former St. Cloud diocese priest James Thoennes of abusing him when he was a boy in Foley in the early 1970s.

The lawsuit claims the diocese knew of past abuse by Thoennes before it assigned him to St. John's parish in Foley. Thoennes admitted in a deposition in a separate lawsuit that he sexually abused at least five boys while working in the St. Cloud Diocese.

The public nuisance claim led to the release of numerous priest files in a separate lawsuit in Ramsey County against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.