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Judge Orders Diocese of Crookston to Produce Secret Clergy Abuse Records for First Time

First-time Diocese of Crookston Secret Documents Will Be Turned Over

(St. Paul, MN) – Mahnomen County District Court Judge Kurt J. Marben has ordered the Diocese of Crookston – a Defendant in the Doe 19 clergy sexual abuse lawsuit – to produce all records pertaining to sexual abuse reported to have been committed by any priest before 1985. The secret documents will be produced to Doe 19 under seal as a result of a protective order previously obtained by the Defendants in the lawsuit.

The documents will provide a clearer picture of the Diocese of Crookston’s practices regarding abusive priests. The Diocese of Crookston has refused to provide these documents to Doe 19. The Diocese previously released a list of credibly accused priests but has refused to publicly release related documents. The other Defendant in the Doe 19 case – the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (“Oblates”) – was ordered to release similar documents in a separate clergy sex abuse case in Ramsey County in January.

“The Diocese of Crookston must finally disclose to Plaintiff what it knew about abusive priests, when it knew, and how it responded,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney for Doe 30. “We again urge the Diocese to publicly disclose this information. Only then, through full, public disclosure, will there be transparency, justice and healing for survivors.”

Doe 19 was sexually abused by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald, an Oblate priest he met as a young parishioner at St. Ann’s Parish in Naytahwaush, Minn., on the White Earth Indian Reservation, in the mid-1980s. Doe 19 brought his lawsuit under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which gives child sexual abuse victims until May 25, 2016, to file civil lawsuits.