Former Twin Cities Vicar General Deposed in Priest Sex Abuse Cases

By Emily Gurnon
Pioneer Press
April 16, 2014

Former Vicar General Kevin McDonough (Pioneer Press 2013 file: Ben Garvin)

Attorneys for plaintiffs alleging sexual abuse by Catholic priests said Wednesday that the Rev. Kevin McDonough cut short his deposition and refused to answer a vital question.

Jeff Anderson deposed McDonough at the downtown St. Paul office of archdiocese attorney Daniel Haws.

Anderson said late Wednesday that, though a judge had ordered an eight-hour deposition, McDonough and his attorneys argued that it was to be just 6 1/2 hours.

Anderson asked McDonough after several hours, "Do you believe, Father, that I have publicly exaggerated the risk posed to the public by the practices of the archdiocese pertaining to sexual abuse?"

"In some cases," McDonough answered, according to Anderson.

"What cases?" Anderson continued.

At that point, Haws and McDonough's own attorney, Andrew Birrell, said the deposition was over, according to Anderson. They instructed McDonough not to answer the question, Anderson said.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has said the deposition should not be made public. Anderson said his firm would make it, as well as the April 2 deposition of Archbishop John Nienstedt, public "as soon as we think we are able to."

Asked to comment on the deposition, the archdiocese said in a written statement that the session "met the court-ordered 8-hour requirement" and that McDonough cooperated throughout the questioning.

McDonough handled allegations of sexual abuse by priests during his time as vicar general, 1991 to 2008, and "delegate for safe environment" from 2008 until the fall of 2013. A vicar general serves as the archbishop's top deputy.

"When needed, he clarified misstatements and mischaracterizations of the incidents that occurred while he held these positions," the archdiocese said in its statement.

"Father McDonough emphasized that he always had the best interests of children and the vulnerable in mind when doing his work. He also acknowledged that the harm caused by sexual abuse is serious and grave," the archdiocese said.

The depositions were taken as part of a lawsuit filed in 2013 against the archdiocese and former priest Thomas Adamson, who has been accused of sexually abusing dozens of boys.

Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522. Follow her at









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