ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the first time, a Ramsey District Court judge has ordered leaders in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis to submit to questioning in a church abuse case.
Archbishop John Nienstedt and former Vicar General Kevin McDonough will have to talk with investigators about how the church handled abuse allegations made against priests. The depositions are to take place within 30 days.
The order relates to a specific John Doe 1 case involving alleged abuse at the hands of Father Thomas Adamson in 1976 and 1977. The victim sued in 2013 and the case is now being prosecuted.
"We'll be given the opportunity to put them under oath, make them really answer tough questions," said the victim's attorney Jeff Anderson. "From that we hope a light will come to past practices so they won't be continued in the future."
Judge Van de North also ordered the Archdiocese to create a list of all priests accused of sexually abusing minors since 2004. The list must be handed over to Anderson by Feb. 18 and will be sealed until a determination is made regarding the validity of each claim.
In December 2012, the same judge ordered the Archdiocese to release a list of 'credibly accused' priests. The judge acknowledged that the definition of 'credible' was left up to the church and the disclosure ruling should be broadened to all accused priests.
The Archdiocese released a statement Tuesday evening:
"Ramsey County District Court Judge John Van de North today ordered discovery to continue in the Doe 1 case. The Court also ordered the parties to submit proposed orders for the Court's consideration regarding ongoing disclosure, which are due later this month.
The archdiocese looks forward to working with the Court and all affected parties to promote the protection of children, the healing of victims and the restoration of trust of the faithful and our clergy who are serving our communities nobly and with honor.
At the same time, we strongly assert our pursuit of justice for any who are falsely accused. All of these goals are the basis for every action and decision we are making regarding this ongoing disclosure."