Tom Johnson, St. Paul Archdiocese clergy abuse ombudsman, steps down

Star-\ Tribune

May 20, 2020

By Jean Hopfensperger

Volunteer post, required by clergy abuse settlement, will be held by his wife, Victoria Newcome Johnson

Twin Cities attorney Tom Johnson, the first ombudsman for clergy abuse for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has stepped down from the role he’s held since 2018, citing health reasons.

The former Hennepin County attorney served as an independent point person for clergy abuse survivors who were reluctant to seek help from the archdiocese.

His wife, Victoria Newcome Johnson, an attorney and educator active in the Twin Cities Catholic community, will assume the voluntary position.

“The opportunity to help victims on a personal level, often being the first person to whom they disclose their abuse, has been very powerful, far beyond what I anticipated,” Tom Johnson said. “In fact, it has been an experience which opened my heart in ways that often don’t occur, particularly in the professional experience of lawyers.”

Creating an independent ombudsman was part of the 2015 settlement agreement between the archdiocese and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, which had sued the archdiocese for failing to protect children. When he was appointed, Tom Johnson said he had a personal reason for assuming the unpaid post.

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