Push for Church to Disclose Names of Accused Priests

Priests accused of sexual misconduct in Minnesota

Jeff Goldberg

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A judge in St. Paul will decide if names of about a dozen Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual misconduct will be made public.

The church says the men were never criminally charged, but alleged victims say it shouldn’t matter. The abused, like Bob Shwiderski, say growing older doesn’t mean forgetting the experience.

“My life has been totally altered because of that,” Shwiderski said.

Shwiderski was abused by a Catholic priest as a child in Hector, Minnesota. He supports an effort to publicize names of priests accused of abuse and pushing the church to do the same.

“They have been denying it,” Shwiderski said. “They cover it up at every opportunity possible. Shame on them”

At a hearing in Ramsey County, attorney Jeff Anderson, who has litigated many church abuse cases, asked a judge to make the names public.

Anderson is seeking ten previously unreleased names of priests accused of abuse from the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis and eight from Winona.

Anderson wants the name for the upcoming case of priest Thomas Adamson, accused of abusing a child at the Church of the Risen Savior in Burnsville, Minn. between 1980 and 1982.

“The real reason they want keep it secret and unknown is it’s embarrassing to the officials,” Anderson said. “Disingenuous at best, disgusting in fact.”

Anderson says many of the accused priests, while not active in the church, are still working in the community.

“I’m most disturbed because the children are still at risk,” he said.

But the archdiocese is still blocking information. It says none of the priests Anderson seeks to publicize are still active in the church and have never been formally charged.

“Just as the law provides protection for all of us from unproven accusations, we believe it is wrong for this information to be disclosed, until a judge decides it should be released,” the archdiocese said.

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