Judge Orders St. Paul Archdiocese, Winona Diocese, to Release Lists of Accused Priests
By Jean Hopfensperger
December 2, 2013
Judge orders release of names of 46 priests accused of abusing minors in the St. Paul archdiocese and Winona diocese.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as the Diocese of Winona, must release the names of 46 priests accused of sexually abusing minors, a Ramsey County District Court judge ruled Monday. He set a deadline of Dec. 17.
Judge John Van de North ordered that the church provide not just the names of the priests but their year of birth, year of ordination, the list of parishes where they served, their current ministerial status, current residence and whether they are still living.
The Twin Cities archdiocese has held secret its list of 33 credibly accused abusers since it was compiled in 2004. Another 13 clergy have been on a similar list in the Winona diocese.
“We are greatly relieved that finally there will be disclosure so children will be protected from further harm and those who have been hurt can come forward,” said Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul attorney specializing in clergy sex abuse. ...
Bob Schwiderski, director of the Minnesota chapter of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), was in the courtroom. He called the ruling “huge.” It comes on the heels of a change in Minnesota law that gives abuse victims a three-year window to file lawsuits claiming past abuse, removing the statute of limitations that prevented may cases from moving forward.
Making public the names of clergy who have sexually abused children over the years will help heal the wounds of survivors, who often have felt alone in their suffering, he said.
“It might not open a flood gate of new victims, but it will open a flood gate of emotions,” said Schwiderski, who was sexually abused by a priest as a boy.