Father Thomas Adamson: Accused of Child Sexual Abuse

Father Thomas Adamson

Accused Priest Thomas Adamson

On May 29, 2013 a civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of a sexual abuse survivor, Doe 1, naming the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Diocese of Winona and Thomas Adamson as defendants. Due to the Minnesota legislature’s passing of the Minnesota Child Victims Act in 2013, Doe 1 was able to seek justice and accountability for the sexual abuse he suffered as a child at St. Thomas Aquinas church in St. Paul Park, MN. Adamson was sent to St. Thomas Aquinas after numerous reports of inappropriate behavior had been made in the Diocese of Winona and he was still allowed to minister to children.

As part of this lawsuit, depositions of top Church officials have been taken including Archbishop John Nienstedt, Archbishop Robert Carlson, former Vicar-Generals Father Kevin McDonough and Father Peter Laird, Adamson himself and numerous others who played a part in keeping Adamson’s abuse secret to the public and parishioners. Thousands of pages of secret, internal documents have also en released providing information on the cover-up and the failures of the Archdiocese and Diocese to protect children from further abuse by Adamson.

On October 13, 2014, settlement of the Doe 1 civil lawsuit was announced. Jeff Anderson & Associates and the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced a historic child protection action plan signaling a new day and a new way for protection of children, healing of survivors, and full transparency and disclosure. Ten days later on October 23, 2014, as part of the settlement, 17 priest names were added to the list of priest’s with substantiated claims of child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

Additionally, as part of the settlement agreement in Doe 1, the files of 24 priests were released by Jeff Anderson & Associates as an early step in the child protection plan announced in October 2014. At least six of these priests worked in the Diocese of New Ulm and to-date, the Diocese of New Ulm has refused to release their list and documents pertaining to clerics credibly accused of child sexual abuse in the New Ulm diocese.

Ordained: May 31, 1958


  • 1958: Saint Casimir, Winona, MN
  • 1958 – 1961: Cotter High School, Winona, MN
  • 1961: Saint Adrian, Adrian, MN
  • 1961 – 1962: Saint Adrian High School, Adrian, MN
  • 1962 – 1963: Lourdes High School, Rochester, MN
  • 1963 – 1964: Saint John’s, Caledonia, MN
  • 1964 – 1966: Lourdes High School, Rochester, MN
  • 1966 – 1967: Saint Clement, Hammond, MN
  • 1967 – 1968: Saint Theodore, Albert Lea, MN
  • 1968 – 1971: Saint Lawrence, Fountain, MN and Saint Kilian, Wykoff, MN
  • 1971 – 1976: Saint Francis of Assisi, Rochester, MN
  • 1976 – 1979: Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Paul Park, MN
  • 1979 – 1984:Immaculate Conception Church, Columbia Heights, MN
  • 1984: Suspended from ministry
  • 2009: Laicized

Ministerial Status: Suspended from ministry in 1984 and laicized (2009)

Current Address: Rochester, MN

Ordained in 1958 in the Diocese of Winona, Father Thomas Adamson spent the first 17 years serving parishes in southern Minnesota. At least five different “incidents” occurred in communities across the Diocese. Father Adamson worked in parishes in Winona, Adrian, Rochester, Caledonia, Hammond, Albert Lea, Fountain, and Wycoff, Minnesota. He has been accused of abusing at least 36 children and experts believe he may have abused as many as 100 boys. Reports to the Diocese were made as early as 1963-1964.

Adamson was treated by several priest psychologists over the years and with the threat of exposure looming over Bishop Watters’ head in Winona, Adamson was transferred to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1975. Adamson underwent treatment in Hartford, Connecticut, and was then assigned to parishes in St. Paul, St. Bonifacius, St. Paul Park, Columbia Heights, and Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Despite a police investigation and Father Adamson admitting that he attempted to touch a boy’s penis, Adamson was allowed to continue in ministry at Immaculate Conception in Columbia Heights. In 1991, a survivor came forward accusing Adamson of sexually abusing him from 1979-1987, shortly after Adamson arrived at the parish. Adamson received additional treatment and was again assigned to another parish in 1985: Risen Savior in Apple Valley, Minnesota, where he was instructed to have no contact with youth. In 1988, Father Thomas Adamson was taking classes at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and working in a nursing home as an activity assistant.