Another Case Filed against Adamson, Diocese of Winona As Deadline Nears
By Jerome Christenson
Winona Daily News
May 25, 2016
The Diocese of Winona and the cathedral of the Sacred Heart face yet another allegation of sexual abuse of a young boy by former priest Thomas Adamson.
The latest allegation, filed in Winona County District Court late Monday, alleges that Adamson abused the boy, identified in the suit as John Doe 129, at the cathedral beginning in 1969 when the boy was in fourth grade. The abuse continued until 1972, according to court documents.
Adamson was not assigned to the cathedral as rector or associate, but was present at the cathedral for diocesan liturgies and other functions, the suit alleges. Doe 129 was an altar boy at the cathedral and, as such, was put in contact with Adamson, whose pedophilic predilections were know to the bishop and other church officials.
The suit accuses the diocese of negligence, negligent supervision, and negligent retention in the case, and accuses the cathedral of negligence. Doe 129 is claiming $50,000 in damages plus court costs and attorney’s fees.
Adamson has been accused in at least 36 other cases of abuse brought against the Winona Diocese. He is one of 17 men who served as priests in the diocese who have substantiated claims against them of sexually abusing minors.
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This most recent filing came three days before the door closes for bringing suit under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. Three years ago the Minnesota Child Victims Act was approved by the state Legislature, offering victims of child sexual abuse a second chance at justice.
The act removed the civil statute of limitations that had previously protected perpetrators of child sexual abuse from being sued for damages after their victims reached the age of 24. It opened a three-year window for victims of abuse that had passed their 24th birthday on May 24, 2013, to bring suit against their abusers. That three-year window closes Wednesday.
When it does, according to published reports, close to 1,000 men and women will have come forward claiming to have been abused, most of them by Roman Catholic priests.
The law has led to hundreds of civil lawsuits against dioceses across the state, as well as the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, with the resulting claims raising significant questions about whether those dioceses will declare bankruptcy. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January 2015, and has been reorganizing since.
Whether the Diocese of Winona will follow the same route isn’t clear, but also not out of the question, according to previous diocese statements and a reading of both internal and public documents.