Press Release



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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims


For Immediate Release:
Thursday, January 10

For More Information:
Jeff Anderson 651 227 9990 office, 612 817 8665 cell
Kathleen O’Connor 651 227 9990

Punitive damages now a possibility in pedophile priest case  

St. Paul judge issues ruling today against MN Catholic officials

She cites their “willful indifference to the safety of Minnesota children”

Notorious predator is now living in Wisconsin & is still paid by the church

First sued in the 1980s, he has been accused of molesting dozens of boys

A man who is suing a Minnesota Catholic diocese for the sexual abuse he experienced as child by a priest won a court ruling today that lets him seek punitive damages because church officials allegedly covered up the cleric’s crimes.

The man, who filed his civil lawsuit in 2006, says he was victimized by Fr. Thomas Adamson, who now lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Adamson was fired a year ago from his job at a nursing home in Altoona when members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) informed staff and residents of his past.

Defendants include the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Winona, Minn., Diocese.

At least 30 people have reported that Adamson sexually assaulted them, beginning in 1959 and continuing at least into the 1980s. Diocesan officials claim he’s been defrocked, but Adamson told an attorney last year that he’s still being paid by the church.

This victim in this case was abused at a parish in 1983 after multiple reports of Adamson’s sex crimes were made to several Catholic officials.

According to one news account, “Experts estimate he likely has abused as many as 100 boys, and Minnesota Catholic dioceses have paid an estimated $6 million in lawsuit settlements as a result of Adamson's actions.”

“Top Catholic officials knew this predator was abusing boys for years but looked the other way and enabled his devastating crime,” said St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson. “The possibility of punitive damages may, we hope, finally prod these reckless and callous church officials to take child protection seriously in the future.”

Today’s ruling was issued by Judge Kathleen Gearin of the Ramsey County Second Judicial District.

Adamson was first sued for child molestation in February 1987 by Gregory Riedle and his parents, John and Janet Riedle.

Ordained in 1958 in the Winona Diocese, Adamson worked in many Minnesota communities including Albert Lea, Rochester, Wykoff, St. Paul Park, Adrian, Columbia Heights, Caledonia and Winona. He stayed in the Winona Diocese until 1975. He then moved to the Twin Cities, where he worked until he was sued for abuse in 1983.

Adamson’s photo is available at

Anderson and fellow attorney Kathleen O’Connor are with the St. Paul law firm of Anderson and Associates, which has handled more than 1500 similar cases involving abusive clergy of all denominations.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests