Joseph Wajda: Substantiated Claims of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Joseph Wajda


The once-secret priest file documents produced under court order by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis on former priest and accused child molester Joseph Wajda were released publicly on July 9, 2014. The Archdiocese produced the documents as part of a civil lawsuit, Doe 1 vs. the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Diocese of Winona and Thomas Adamson.

The Wajda documents show how current Archbishop of St. Louis Robert Carlson, while serving in roles including chancellor and auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the 1970s-1990s, along with other Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis officials, mishandled and minimized child sexual abuse allegations against Wajda. Their actions enabled Wajda to continue to serve as a priest, which put children in danger.

In addition, in 1981, Wajda reported to Carlson that Adamson was engaging in sexual misconduct with a youth, according to the documents.

After he was ordained in 1973, Father Joseph Wajda worked at numerous parishes throughout Minnesota, including churches in Crystal, Columbia Heights, Roseville, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In 1989, two separate civil lawsuits were filed accusing Father Joseph Wajda of sexually abusing two boys, a 12-year-old and a 16-year-old. Both survivors reported that they were abused after seeking counseling from Father Wajda. The lawsuits settled for a “substantial” amount in 1991, but Father Wajda continued to work as a priest until he was placed on leave in 2002 following the Dallas Bishops’ Conference. Father Joseph Wajda was listed as a member of the Tribunal in 2004.