Abusive priest list must be released

Mankato Free Press

Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2015
By Dan Nienaber dnienaber@mankatofreepress.com

NEW ULM — A Ramsey County judge has ordered the Diocese of New Ulm to release all the records it has pertaining to reports of sexual abuse by any of its priests prior to 1978.

That order includes a New Ulm Diocese list of priests who were credibly accused of molesting children. It is the only Catholic diocese that hasn’t made its list public, either voluntarily or through a court order. The lists were created during an investigation into abusive priests throughout the country that was started by the Catholic Church.

District Court Judge John H. Guthmann made the order through a lawsuit that has been filed by a man who is claiming he was molested by the late Rev. J. Vincent Fitzgerald while he was a 13-year-old altar boy at St. Thomas More Church in Lake Lillian. The man, identified as Doe 30 in court documents, reported the assaults took place at another church in Squaw Lake, which is a town northeast of Bemidji, while he was traveling with Fitzgerald.

Another man, identified as Doe 19, has filed a lawsuit claiming he was molested by Fitzgerald at another northern Minnesota church. Guthmann’s order requires the Diocese of New Ulm to release the list and other information about Fitzgerald and at least 11 other priests identified through the church investigation. That information and previously unreleased information from the Diocese of New Ulm must be turned over by Feb. 17, said Jeff Anderson, the St. Paul attorney representing Doe 30.

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