Media Advisory: Documents from Fr. James Vincent Fitzgerald’s Priest File to be Released Publicly Today

Doe 19 Reaches Settlement with Diocese of Crookston, Oblates of Mary Immaculate for Sexual Abuse by Fr. Fitzgerald

Survivor Megan Peterson will speak about her empowerment through coming forward


Fr. James Vincent Fitzgerald Timeline

Fitzgerald Assignments
Fitzgerald Map
Fitzgerald Biographical Data
11-11-92 Fitzgerald Psychiatric Evaluation
11-10-92 McNamara Letter
10-26-92 Letter from Provincial Deegan to Fr. Perri
10-15-90 Letter from Provincial Deegan to Fitzgerald
8-13-63 Letter from Fr. Coovert to Fitzgerald re Breakdown

What:  At a news conference Wednesday in Duluth, Attorney Mike Finnegan will:

  • Publicly release documents for the first time from the Oblate priest file of Father James Vincent Fitzgerald. In 2013, an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Doe 19, filed a lawsuit for sexual abuse by Fr. Fitzgerald under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. The documents were used in a Ramsey County trial last year involving Bill Weis, another Fitzgerald survivor.
  • Announce a settlement reached between Doe 19 and the Diocese of Crookston and Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Doe 19 was sexually abused in approximately 1984 by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald, a priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate religious order who worked in the Diocese of Crookston.
  • Encourage other survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Minnesota to come forward before the May 25, 2016 claim deadline.
  • Survivor Megan Peterson will discuss her empowering experience in coming forward.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 11:00 AM

On the front steps of the St. Louis County District Courthouse (Duluth Courthouse)
100 North 5th Ave. W.
Duluth, MN 55802

Copies of the documents will be available tomorrow at

Fitzgerald worked primarily in Native American communities in Minnesota and South Dakota from the 1950s to 1980s and is alleged to have sexually abused many children in several of these communities, including in the Diocese of Crookston and the Diocese of Duluth. Specifically, Fitzgerald worked at parishes in Northome, Effie, Big Fork, Orr, Nett Lake, Squaw Lake, Cass Lake, Pennington and Inger in the Diocese of Duluth, as well as Kelliher, Naytahwaush, White Earth, and Big Elbow Lake in the Diocese of Crookston. Fitzgerald also worked at the Tekakwitha Children’s Home in Sisseton, South Dakota.

In March, the Diocese of Crookston sought to dismiss Doe 19’s lawsuit from court, arguing that it was not liable for the actions of Fitzgerald.  As part of Doe 19’s lawsuit, the Diocese of Crookston was forced to turn over hundreds of pages of documents on priests accused of sexual abuse who worked in the Diocese of Crookston, however, those documents remain confidential at the insistence of the Diocese.

Fitzgerald died in 2009. However, civil lawsuits can still be brought on behalf of his victims under the Minnesota Child Victims Act before May 25, 2016.  Doe 19 is represented by the St. Paul, Minn., law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates. Anyone with information regarding Father Fitzgerald should contact Jeff Anderson & Associates at (651) 227-9990 or 1-888-867-5557.