Two More Men Join Abuse Lawsuit against St. Paul Priest

By Tim Nelson
Minnesota Public Radio
June 29, 2010

St. Paul, Minn. Two more men have come forward saying they were victims of sexual abuse by a priest who worked in Hastings and St. Paul decades ago.

The two Twin Cities men today joined a suit filed against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in March. They allege Father Thomas Stitts had molested them while they were children in the parish at Guardian Angles Catholic Church in Hastings and at St. Leo's congregation in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood.

The incidents allegedly happened in the late 1960s, when the men were boys, one of them a student at the school at Guardian Angels.

The lawsuit alleges fraud on behalf of the archdiocese, saying the archdiocese had known or should have known of abuse allegations against Stitts before assigning him to minister to the two parishes.

"This archdiocese has not been honest with this community, because it has suppressed and concealed sexual abuse by its priests," said attorney Patrick Noaker, a colleague of St. Paul attorney Jeffrey Anderson.

The additional allegations were filed in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul Tuesday morning.

Dennis McGrath, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said in a statement that the church continues to pray for victims of clerical abuse and have made great effort to better educate the clergy and local congregations about abuse and its prevention. But, he added, "we reject any claims of 'cover-up' in the strongest possible terms."

McGrath also said the allegations against Stitts first surfaced publicly 25 years ago. That could impact the statute of limitations in the case, although that will be for a court to deterrmine.


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