Winona Diocese Says It Will Comply with Judge's Order to Release List of Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse

By Jerome Christenson
The Winona Daily News
December 4, 2013

The Diocese of Winona said Tuesday it will not contest a judge’s ruling compelling the diocese to release the names of 13 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

“The Diocese of Winona will fully cooperate with the order,” said Bishop John Quinn in a statement, referring to a Ramsey County judge’s decision Monday ordering both the Winona and Minneapolis-St. Paul dioceses to release their lists of priests.

The information released will include each priest’s name, date of birth, year of ordination, whether the priest is alive or deceased, all parishes where the priest served within the diocese, current ministerial status and most current address known, according to the ruling.

Joel Hennessy, director of communications for the Diocese of Winona, said the information will be released by the Dec. 17 deadline set by the court. The exact date and procedure for releasing the information has not yet been determined, and some information regarding the current address of some individuals will need to be verified before the release could be made.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said it plans to release the names of its 33 priests Thursday on a page of the archdiocese’s website and in its newspaper, “The Catholic Spirit.”

Additionally, the two dioceses have until Jan. 6 to release names of priests accused since 2004, the year there was a nationwide effort by dioceses to identify abusive priests that led to the lists. It’s not known whether any priests in the Diocese of Winona have been accused since then.

The judge’s order came as a result of a suit filed in June, the first brought under the Minnesota Child Victims Act passed by the Legislature and signed into law in May. In that suit, the plaintiff alleges that in 1976 and 1977 he was sexually abused by Thomas Adamson, then a priest assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas parish in St. Paul Park. Adamson had been transferred from the Diocese of Winona to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1974.

“The Diocese of Winona is committed to the protection of children and the safe environment of our parishes, schools and greater communities. We encourage anyone, or any organization, with information regarding the abuse or exploitation of children or young people to immediately report that information to law enforcement,” Quinn said in the statement. “We are committed to the protection and safety of all those entrusted to our care.”



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