Ramsey County Jury Awards $8.1 Million to Clergy Abuse Survivor
Diocese of Duluth Negligent in Supervising Predator Priest
(St. Paul, MN) – A Ramsey County jury handed down an $8.1 million verdict against the Diocese of Duluth today in a sexual abuse case involving Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald sexually abused Plaintiff William Weis in 1978 at St. Catherine’s Church in Squaw Lake, MN, a parish in the Diocese of Duluth.
The jury attributed 60% fault to the Diocese of Duluth and 40% to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a religious order based in St. Paul, MN. Father Fitzgerald was an Oblate priest working in the Diocese of Duluth when he sexually abused Weis. Weis met Fitzgerald at St. Thomas More Church in Lake Lillian, MN, and Fitzgerald subsequently brought Weis to St. Catherine’s in the Diocese of Duluth where he molested him for a period of two weeks.
“It’s an important day for all clergy abuse survivors,” said Attorney Jeff Anderson. “This verdict sends a message and a wake-up call to all communities and organizations, near and far, that the most important thing is the safety of our children. Today, a truth was revealed and justice was served.”