|Court to Take up Fate of List Naming Priests Accused of Abuse
The Twin Cities Archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona Seek an Order to Keep St. Paul Lawyer Jeff Anderson from Sharing the List. " I Think There's a Moral and Legal Imperative" to Name, He Said
By Lora Pabst
April 7, 2009
At a court hearing today in St. Paul, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona will try to block the public release of a list of priests accused of sexual abuse.
A Ramsey County district judge ordered two months ago that the archdiocese hand over the list to St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who has filed many cases involving sexual abuse by priests. Anderson is representing a Twin Cities man, identified only as John Doe 76C, who alleged that he was sexually abused by former Catholic priest Thomas Adamson between 1980 and 1982 while Adamson was serving at Risen Savior Parish in Apple Valley. Anderson was planning to use the list of names when the case goes to trial in early June.
"They've brought a motion to keep it secret," Anderson said. "It's their effort to keep the crimes secret."
The archdiocese did not return calls for comment Tuesday.
Anderson said that he told the archdiocese and diocese that he was planning to go public with the list of names when he received it about a month ago and that they responded by seeking a court order to block Anderson from releasing it.
The archdiocese's list compiles claims of abuse it deems credible and the names of accused priests and church officials who might have relocated the priests, Anderson said.
"When I get this data, I release it publicly," Anderson said. "I think there's a moral and legal imperative to release it."
Years of information
He requested the list after Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled in January 2008 that the plaintiff could seek punitive damages in his lawsuit against the archdiocese and diocese. Anderson had argued in his motion to request punitive damages that church officials knew Adamson molested children as far back as 1963 but continued to place him in parishes with access to children.
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