Twin Cities Archbishop Appears in Civil Suit over Clergy Abuse

Updated: 04/03/2014 6:46 AM By: Leslie Dyste

Archbishop John Nienstedt
Archbishop John Nienstedt
Photo: Photo: KSTP File Photo

Under court order, the leader of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis was forced Wednesday to explain what he knew about allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

This is the first time Archbishop John Nienstedt has had to legally respond to the claims.

The deposition was private, but in a statement released Wednesday the archdiocese says, the Archbishop expressed regret for mistakes that were made in the past. He assumed responsibility for mistakes that have been made since he became Archbishop of the Archdiocese in 2008, according to the statement.

The deposition is part of a lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court. A victim has sued the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Diocese of Winona, and former priest Tom Adamson, who allegedly abused the victim in the 1970s.

A judge ordered the archdiocese to turn over tens of thousands of pages of documents on about 40 priests who have been credibly accused of abusing children from 1970 to today. All 60,000 documents had to be turned in to the Ramsey County judge by Nienstedt’s deposition Wednesday. Some of the documents are sealed, but the victim’s attorney plans to ask the judge to reveal as much as he can through the deposition process.

“Until they are known and revealed to the public – who they are, where they are, and what their history is – kids are not safe,” attorney Jeff Anderson said.

The deposition of former Vicar General Kevin McDonough is taking place Wednesday, April 16.

The depositions are in preparation for a trial starting Sept. 22.