Ruling requiring Archbishop Nienstedt to testify in abuse case stands
By Emily Gurnon
February 16, 2014
A judge has denied a motion by the Twin Cities archdiocese to prevent Archbishop John Nienstedt from testifying about priests accused of child sexual abuse.
Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North ruled Sunday afternoon that he would not stay his orders of Tuesday regarding the testimony of Nienstedt and former Vicar General Kevin McDonough. He also refused to stay his order that the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona submit names of priests accused of sexual abuse since 2004.
The archdiocese and diocese filed motions Thursday asking Van de North to stay his orders pending their appeal of the issues to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
The legal wrangling came in the case of John Doe 1 vs. the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Diocese of Winona and Thomas Adamson.
Adamson is a former priest who has been sued more than a dozen times for allegedly sexually abusing children.
Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Michael Finnegan, who represent the plaintiff, argued that the judges' orders should stand.
The archdiocese and diocese oppose what they described as "sweeping disclosures" of accused priests, even though Van de North ordered the names filed under seal. The archdiocese also argued that Nienstedt should not be forced to give a deposition in the case because the alleged abuse by Adamson occurred long before he came to the archdiocese in 2007.
Van de North told attorneys the depositions should take place within 30 days of the Feb. 11 order. Van de North told the archdiocese and diocese to submit the names of accused priests by Tuesday.
John Doe 1 is a Twin Cities man who sued in May, saying Adamson molested him in 1976 or 1977 when the priest served at St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul Park. The plaintiff also alleged that the archdiocese and diocese failed to respond adequately -- moving Adamson from parish to parish as allegations arose.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.