In a hearing Wednesday afternoon in Polk County District Court in Crookston, a sexual abuse victim, along with her attorneys, requested the public release of a list they say is possessed and maintained by the Diocese of Crookston and contains the names of several priests accused of sexual abuse.
Judge Tamara Yon heard arguments from the victim’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, along with defense counsel for the Diocese of Crookston. The lawsuit was filed June 20 in Polk County and also names the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts and the Servants of the Paraclete, claiming they were negligent in allowing the now-deceased Father James R. Porter continued access to children. Father James R. Porter is suspected of abusing over 100 children in multiple states including Minnesota, Massachusetts, Texas, and New Mexico.
“We are asking for full and complete disclosure of offenders known to only the Diocese of Crookston, the Diocese of Fall River and the Servants of the Paraclete” attorney Jeff Anderson stated in a media release. “The continued secrecy by all defendants gravely imperils the wellness of the community and the children.”
The abuse victim and Anderson are also seeking the public release of similar lists that they say are maintained by the Diocese of Fall River and the Servants of the Paraclete.
Similar hearings have been held in Ramsey County in St. Paul pertaining to the release of the names of priests contained in lists known only to, and maintained, by both the Diocese of Winona and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Anderson’s office states. The judge has yet to issue a ruling in these cases.
It is expected, Anderson indicates in the release, that the Diocese of Crookston will argue that the privacy of priests outweighs the need for public disclosure.
The Diocese of Crookston is represented by Stephen Plunkett of Bassford Remele in Minneapolis, and Susan Gaertner of Gray Plant Mooty in Minneapolis.