Men Sue St. Paul Archdiocese over Abuse Allegation

By Dan Olson
Minnesota Public Radio
March 18, 2010

St. Paul, Minn. Four Minnesota men have filed a fraud lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The men, who've declined to be publicly identified, say they were sexually abused as children by the late Father Thomas Stitts when he was a Catholic priest at St. Leo's Church in Highland Park in the 1970s.

They claim the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis reassigned Stitts to other parishes even though officials knew of the abuse. Their attorney, Patrick Noacker, says the decision by the Archdiocese to reassign Stitts to other parishes placed other children in jeopardy.

"They were also making a representation, or communicating by their acts, that they didn't have information that Father Stitts was a child molester. That in fact turned out to be false. They knew it was false when they made that representation, and in Minnesota that constitutes fraud," said Noacker.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Dennis McGrath, calls the charges of fraud unreasonable.

McGrath says the attorneys in the case were given access to information 15 years ago about how the archdiocese responded to claims of sexual abuse by Stitts, before his death in 1985.

The civil suit charging fraud was filed Thursday morning in Ramsey County district court.


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