Jury's Award Reduced in Priest Molestation Suit

Chicago Tribune
May 2, 1991

A judge reduced to about $1 million a jury's award of $3.5 million to a man who was molested by a priest as a child. District Judge Phyllis Rose on Tuesday said the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona, which had been ordered to pay the award, already had paid a big price in damage to their reputations. A Columbia Heights man who was molested by the Rev. Thomas Adamson had contended in a suit that church officials failed to remove the priest from duty when they knew he had a history of sexually abusing boys. A jury agreed in December. After attorneys for the dioceses asked the judge to set aside all damages, Jones left intact the award of $855,000 in compensatory damages for expenses, suffering and humiliation. But the judge reduced punitive damages against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from $2 million to about $50,000, and punitive damages against the Diocese of Winona from $700,000 to about $137,000. Adamson had admitted sexual misconduct with boys, including the plaintiff, in the Winona Diocese beginning in 1961 and later in the Twin Cities archdiocese after he was transfered in 1975. He no longer is an active priest.


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