Archdiocese to Judge: Block Top Officials from Testifying in St. Paul Park Case
By Emily Gurnon
January 26, 2014
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has asked a judge to block depositions of top officials by attorneys representing an alleged sexual abuse victim.
A plaintiff identified as John Doe 1 sued the archdiocese, the Diocese of Winona and former priest Thomas Adamson in May 2013, alleging sexual abuse by Adamson between 1976 and 1977.
Adamson was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas church in St. Paul Park at the time.
The plaintiff's attorneys, Jeff Anderson and Michael Finnegan, told the court in a motion filed Tuesday that the archdiocese had refused to answer questions and provide documents.
Finnegan said Friday that the requested information and depositions are relevant to the case.
"It's our position that Archbishop (John) Nienstedt and (Rev.) Kevin McDonough for years have covered up and concealed child sex abuse in this archdiocese, thereby putting kids at risk -- which is the heart of the nuisance claim," he said.
"Both of those guys should have to answer for their actions under oath," Finnegan said.
The victim alleges that the archdiocese and diocese created a public nuisance by concealing Adamson's history and that of other priest offenders from the community.
The archdiocese argued that Nienstedt and McDonough should not have to be deposed. Neither should Rev. John T. Brown, who is accused of abuse in a separate lawsuit, the archdiocese said.
None of them "had any involvement with Father Adamson, St. Thomas Aquinas, the alleged abuse of plaintiff in 1976 or 1977, the archdiocese's involvement in the transfer of Father Adamson from the (Winona) diocese, or the archdiocese's retention of supervision of Father Adamson during this time period," attorney Daniel Haws wrote in a Tuesday motion filed with the court.
The plaintiff's attorneys simply want an excuse to get more information on "unrelated claims of clergy abuse and the archdiocese's handling of clergy abuse" long after the John Doe 1 abuse by Adamson, Haws wrote.
The plaintiff's attorneys also have asked for archdiocese officials to release "all documents pertaining to the 33 priests on the list of credibly accused of sexual misconduct, which was compiled by the archdiocese in 2004," and the names and other information of clergy accused of child sex abuse after 2004.
Both sides will discuss the motions at a Feb. 11 hearing before Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North.
Adamson served in the Diocese of Winona from 1958 to 1975. He was transferred to the Twin Cities archdiocese for treatment, and stayed until 1985, when he returned to the Winona diocese. He molested dozens of boys, committing offenses at almost every parish he served, according to the plaintiff. Officials at the time had heard complaints but continued to move Adamson around, the plaintiff alleges.
Jim Accurso, spokesman for the archdiocese, declined to elaborate on the written motion by its attorney.