Ex-priest from St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese admits to abusing 10 boys

By Jean Hopfensperger
Star Tribune
June 11, 2014

The Cathedral of St. Paul.

Former priest Thomas Adamson recalls 10 boys he has had sexually abused, out of list of 38 alleged victims, in court deposition.

Thomas Adamson, a former priest in Winona and the Twin Cities, has testified in a court deposition that he sexually abused at least 10 boys as he moved from parish to parish in the 1960s through the 1980s.

Adamson testified that he met his first victims while coaching junior high and high school basketball teams at St. Adrian High School in Adrian, Minn., in the 1960s, according to a deposition made public Wednesday.

He said he later admitted the abuse to the bishop of Winona — but no action was taken to remove him from ministry or to warn parents and children.

Instead, Adamson was eventually transferred to the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis in 1975, where he allegedly abused a young man who is behind a 2013 lawsuit that has put a relentless spotlight on far broader sex abuse in the archdiocese.

During his deposition, Adamson calmly explained which boys he abused and in which parishes, sometimes adding details of sexual activity that happened in school gymnasiums, his car and his home.

Plaintiff’s attorney Jeff Anderson, who held a list of 37 men who have claimed Adamson abused them, asked the former priest how many boys he abused after moving to the archdiocese.

“I don’t know,” Adamson said. “I’d have to study that out.”

Anderson’s deposition is the latest in a series of depositions released by Anderson, who is representing “John Doe 1,” a man who claims he was abused by Adamson in the 1970s at his St. Paul Park parish. Unlike the top-ranking church officials whose depositions were released previously, Adamson, now 80, answered most questions.

It is the first time that an Adamson deposition has been made public, said Anderson.

“This is the first time people will have a glimpse into the mind of the molester,” said Anderson.




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