Winona Diocese Ordered to Turn Over Documents on Accused Priests

Winona Daily: The Diocese of Winona must release all files it kept on priests accused of abuse, the latest update in a sprawling case against both the diocese and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that continues to grow.

A Ramsey County district judge this week ordered both the Winona diocese, as well as the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, to disclose their documents on priests by March 31. The documents may never see the light of day, at least not at first — they will be sealed and available only to the attorneys.

The documents will “really show what the bishops knew, when they knew it, and whether they concealed it,” said attorney Mike Finnegan in an interview Friday.

The Winona diocese did not respond to a request for comment.

In December 2013, the diocese released a list of 13 names of priests “credibly accused” of abuse, as well as an additional name of a priest accused of abuse since 2004. The diocese is now being asked to turn over all files pertaining to investigations into those priests, and each file could contain hundreds of pages of documents, Finnegan said.