Sexual Abuse Documents About Priest who Worked in Duluth Released to Public
May 11, 2016
|Father James Vincent Fitzgerald worked primarily in Native American communities in Minnesota and South Dakota from the 1950's to 1980's. Attorney Mike Finnegan says at least 17 children were abused by him throughout those years.|
In 2013, an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Doe 19, filed a lawsuit for sexual abuse by Father James Vincent Fitzgerald under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. Two weeks ago, Doe 19 reached a settlement with the Diocese of Crookston, Oblates of Mary Immaculate after claiming that said deceased Father Fitzgerald abused them back in 1984.
Fitzgerald was a priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate religious order who worked in the Diocese of Crookston. Attorney Mike Finnegan, who specializes in these kinds of cases, says at least 17 people have come forward saying they were abused by Father Fitzgerald as children.
In March, the Diocese of Crookston sought to dismiss Doe 19's lawsuit from court, arguing that it was not liable for the actions of Fitzgerald. As part of Doe 19's lawsuit, the Diocese of Crookston was forced to turn over hundreds of pages of documents on priests accused of sexual abuse who worked in the Diocese of Crookston.
Fitzgerald worked primarily in Native American communities in Minnesota and South Dakota from the 1950s to 1980s and is alleged to have sexually abused many children in several of the these communities including in the Diocese of Crookston and the Diocese of Duluth. He died in 2009, however, civil lawsuits can still be brought on behalf of his victims under the Minnesota Child Victims Act before May 25, 2016.
The Minnesota Child Victims Act is a unique, three year window that has allowed childhood sexual abuse victims to file lawsuits against their perpetrators years later. After May 25th, this won't be possible anymore.