New Ulm, Duluth Dioceses and Oblates Ordered to Produce Records

Judge Orders Diocese of New Ulm, Diocese of Duluth and Oblates to Produce All Records on All Reported Clergy Sexual Abuse from before 1978

First-time Diocese of New Ulm, Diocese of Duluth and Oblates’ Secret Documents Will Be Turned Over

(St. Paul, MN) –  Ramsey County District Court Judge John H. Guthmann Tuesday ordered the Defendants in the Doe 30 lawsuit to produce all records pertaining to sexual abuse reported to have been committed by any priest before 1978. The secret documents will be produced to Doe 30 under seal as a result of a protective order previously obtained by the Defendants.

The documents will provide a clearer picture of the Defendants’ practices regarding abusive priests. The Defendants – the Diocese of New Ulm, the Diocese of Duluth and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate – have refused to provide these documents to Doe 30. The Diocese of New Ulm is the only Minnesota diocese that has refused to release a list of credibly accused priests. The Diocese of Duluth has released a list but has refused to publicly release related documents.

“Defendants finally have to disclose to Plaintiff what they knew about abusive priests, when they knew it and how they responded,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney for Doe 30. “We again urge them to publicly disclose this information. Only through full, public disclosure will there be transparency, justice and healing for survivors.”

Doe 30 was sexually abused by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald, an Oblate priest he met as a young parishioner at St. Thomas More Church, 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. Doe 19, another man molested by Fitzgerald as a child, has filed suit against the Diocese of Crookston and the Oblates in Mahnomen County District Court. Fitzgerald sexually abused Doe 19 at St. Ann’s Parish in Naytahwaush, Minn. on the White Earth Indian Reservation.

Judge Guthmann’s Order requires the New Ulm and Duluth Dioceses to produce the documents by February 17, 2015, and the Oblates to produce their documents by March 27, 2015.