Duluth Jury Rules in Favor of Sexual Abuse Survivor, Bishop Paul Sirba Withholds Information and Refuses to Testify
August 23, 2018
Bishop Paul Sirba Refuses to Testify, Withholds Information Regarding
Father William Graham from Jury
(Duluth, MN) – Tonight, a Duluth jury returned a verdict in favor of a courageous sexual abuse survivor, Doe 446, concluding the survivor did not intentionally inflict emotional distress upon Fr. William Graham after Doe 446 named Fr. Graham in a sexual abuse lawsuit in 2016.
The survivor requested that Bishop Sirba testify and Bishop Sirba refused, instead sending a lawyer to fight this request. Bishop Paul Sirba refused to testify to the details of the investigation and refused to provide Fr. Graham’s file to the court and the public. Further, the details surrounding Fr. Graham’s administrative leave from the Diocese of Duluth, and his non-existent contract, were withheld from the jury. Because Bp. Sirba refused to testify, and chose to conceal the situation from the jury, the jury found that Doe 446 interfered with his contract.
“Bishop Sirba’s refusal to testify and his continued concealment of Fr. Graham’s file and the subsequent investigation is outrageous and criminal,” said Mike Finnegan, one of the attorneys representing Doe 446. “This survivor had the courage to come forward and disclose his abuse to the diocese and he was once again re-victimized by Bishop Sirba, the Diocese and its lawyers. We will continue to fight for justice on behalf of Doe 446.”
After Doe 446 came forward and named Fr. Graham in a lawsuit, the Diocese of Duluth conducted an internal investigation into the abuse allegations. The information gathered during the investigation was presented to the Diocesan Review Board and Doe 446’s allegations were found credible.
On August 5, 2018, the Diocese of Duluth added Fr. Graham’s name to its list of priests with credible allegations of child sexual abuse.