Attorneys argue over access to church leaders, clergy abuse documents

By Jean Hopfensperger
Star Tribune
June 25, 2014

Plaintiff’s attorneys want to question archbishop and get more documents. Church lawyers say some records are protected by First Amendment.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis went to court Wednesday to try to halt further demands for information about how the church handled priest sex abusers.

Attorneys for an alleged victim of clergy abuse asked a Ramsey District Court judge to approve a second round of depositions from Archbishop John Nienstedt and former vicar general Kevin McDonough.

They’ve also asked that records from the archdiocese’ priest personnel board be included in the documents the archdiocese has been required to submit to them. The archdiocese has said the records are protected by the First Amendment.

The hearing before Ramsey District Court Judge John Van de North is part of a lawsuit filed last year on behalf of a man who claimed he had been abused decades earlier by the Rev. Thomas Adamson, who later left the priesthood.

It contends that church officials here and in the Winona Diocese put children and others at risk by failing to disclose information about priests who had been accused of abuse.

The lawsuit has led to unprecedented disclosure of church filesand the release of names of more than 100 priests accused of child sex abuse in every diocese of the state except New Ulm.


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