Press Conference: Doe 19 vs. Crookston Diocese

First Civil Suit to be Filed Under Child Victims Act Involving Sexual Abuse on a Reservation

Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald sexually abused children on White Earth, Leech Lake and Lake Traverse Reservations in Minnesota and South Dakota

Defendants include the Diocese of Crookston and Oblates of Mary Immaculate

(St. Paul, MN) – At a news conference Thursday in the lobby of the Polk County Courthouse in Crookston, Lonna Hunter, a passionate advocate for Native children and sexual abuse attorney Jeff Anderson will:
  • Announce the filing of a sexual abuse lawsuit on behalf of a man, Doe 19, who was abused by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald at St. Ann’s Parish in Naytawaush, Minnesota, on the White Earth Indian Reservation. The lawsuit names the Diocese of Crookston, and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate alleging they were negligent in placing  Fitzgerald in parishes and communities where he had access to children even after learning that Fitzgerald was a child molester.
  • Request the release of names of credibly accused and admitted child molesters from the Diocese of Crookston. This is the first time Fitzgerald’s name has been publicly released in Minnesota.
  • Notify sexual abuse survivors who experienced abuse on any reservation in Minnesota that the Child Victims Act may be able to help them achieve healing and justice. Fitzgerald allegedly abused children on all three reservations, including orphaned children on the Lake Traverse Reservation as part of the Sisseton, South Dakota Indian Mission.

Thursday, November 21, 2013, at 1:00 PM (CST)

Inside the Crookston Courthouse
816 Marin Ave.
Crookston, MN 56716

Copies of the documents and complaint will be available at

Lonna Hunter, an advocate for Native children who has worked tirelessly for policy and effective responses to institutional child sexual abuse. She previously worked with the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition and is currently the program coordinator for the federal Office of Victims of Crime project, the Minnesota Network Legal Services for Victims of Crime at the Council on Crime and Justice. Attorney Jeff Anderson is a St. Paul, Minnesota-based attorney who, through the civil justice system, advocates nationwide for sexual abuse survivors.

Fitzgerald is deceased and held positions in the Diocese of Duluth, Diocese of Crookston, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Diocese of Springfield (IL), Diocese of Belleville (IL), Diocese of Sioux Falls, Archdiocese of Portland (OR), and the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau (MO).