Duluth priest sues ex-Duluth cop, his ‘credible’ abuse victim, and wins. Wait, what?

City Pages

September 27, 2018

By Mike Mullen

A priest and a former cop walk into a courtroom.

Do not stop us; you have not heard this one before.

And even if you read the strange little tale told in Minnesota Lawyer, it’s hard to make heads or tails of this one. Even the “long story, short” takes some explaining.

William Graham, a Roman Catholic priest with St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Duluth, was sued in 2016 by T.J. Davis Jr., a former parishioner who attended Cathedral Senior High School (later rechristened Marshall School) in that port city some 40 years ago.

Davis, who as an adult joined the Duluth Police force, claimed in his lawsuit Graham had abused him during his high school years. That claim meant Graham was automatically put on “administrative leave” from his job with the church, and therefore went without a $500 stipend as the civil case played out in court.

This displeased the priest, who was later found — as part of a massive clergy sex abuse action that has bankrupted the Diocese of Duluth — to be a “credibly accused” perpetrator. So Graham, the reverend, took the rarely-if-ever seen step of suing his accuser, alleging Davis had purposely tried robbing him of his livelihood … by suing him, for sexual abuse.

And a jury agreed.

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