Judge Guthmann’s Order Paves the Way for Trial in Ramsey County
(St. Paul, MN) – The first civil trial regarding clergy sexual abuse of a minor under the Minnesota Child Victims Act will begin in the Doe 30 case on October 19, 2015, in Ramsey County District Court. The Diocese of Duluth is the defendant. An order issued by Ramsey County District Court Judge John Guthmann denied the Diocese of Duluth’s attempt to be dismissed as a party in the case, meaning the jury trial will begin October 19 before Judge Guthmann.
Plaintiff Doe 30 was sexually abused in approximately 1978 by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald, a priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (“Oblates”) religious order he met as a young parishioner at St. Thomas More Church in Lake Lillian, Minn., in the Diocese of New Ulm. Fitzgerald brought Doe 30 to St. Catherine’s Church in Squaw Lake, Minn., in the Diocese of Duluth, where he molested Doe 30. Fitzgerald was working as a priest at St. Catherine’s Church at the time of the abuse.
In 2014, Doe 30 filed a civil lawsuit against the Diocese of Duluth, the Oblates and the Diocese of New Ulm, regarding the abuse. Doe 30 brought his lawsuit under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which was enacted in 2013 and gives child sexual abuse victims until May 25, 2016, to file civil lawsuits. The Doe 30 case will be the first to go to trial in a case brought under the Child Victims Act.
“This trial will mark the first time that the Diocese of Duluth’s secret documents will see the light of day,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney for Doe 30.