Case Seeking Clergy Files from Twin Cities Archdiocese, Winona Can Go Forward.
By Jean Hopfensperger
December 10, 2013
Lawyers seeking documentation of their client’s abuse by a Catholic priest say a Tuesday decision by a Ramsey County District Court judge will open the “secret documents.”
A lawsuit involving an alleged victim of the Rev. Tom Adamson included a nuisance claim against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Diocese of Winona, where Adamson also had served. It alleged that the church created and continued to create public and private nuisances by failing to disclose information about certain priests accused of sexually abusing minors.
Judge John Van de North dismissed the private nuisance claim but allowed the public nuisance claim to move forward. It paves the way for the law firm representing an anonymous plaintiff identified as “Doe 1,” to request internal chancery correspondence and other documents from the archdiocese and diocese to support its client’s case.
“This opens up a whole new part of the case,” said Mike Finnegan, a lawyer with Anderson and Associates of St. Paul, “namely what the higher-ups knew and when they knew it.”
The archdiocese was not available for immediate comment. Its lawyers had argued that the nuisance claim didn’t apply to the case, and that it was barred by the statute of limitations.