Media Advisory: In Hearing Tomorrow, Diocese of Crookston Seeks to Dismiss Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

(Crookston, MN) – Tomorrow at 1:30 PM at the Polk County Justice Center, the Diocese of Crookston will ask the Court to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of a sexual abuse survivor, Doe 19, who was sexually abused as a young boy by Fr. J. Vincent Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald worked as a priest at St. Anne’s in Naytahwaush, MN, where he abused Doe 19.

Prior to working at St. Anne’s in the Diocese of Crookston, Fitzgerald also worked at St. Catherine’s parish in Squaw Lake, MN, in the Diocese of Duluth, where he sexually abused another young boy, Bill Weis. In November 2015, a Ramsey County jury reached a verdict in favor of Weis, concluding the Diocese of Duluth was negligent in failing to supervise Fitzgerald. Doe 19’s trial is set for July 2016.
Doe 19’s lawsuit was filed in November 2013 under the Minnesota Child Victims Act which allows survivors of sexual abuse to sue their offenders and the institutions who protected the offenders. The deadline for sexual abuse survivors to file a lawsuit is May 25, 2016.

In January 2014, the Diocese of Crookston released the names of six priests accused of sexually abusing children. These priests included: Fr. James Porter, Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul, Fr. Stanley Bourassa, Fr. Henry Carriere, Fr. Francis Reid and Fr. Fitzgerald. The Diocese of Crookston has yet to release documents pertaining to clergy accused of child sexual abuse.

**Attorney Mike Finnegan will be available to answer questions tomorrow afternoon immediately following the hearing.
Polk County Justice Center
The Honorable Judge Kurt Marben

1:30 PM Hearing

816 Marin Avenue
Crookston, MN 56716