Victim Attorney: Fr. McDonough Refused to Answer Final Question in Deposition

Updated: 04/17/2014 7:53 PM By: Beth McDonough

KSTP File Photo
KSTP File Photo

A second top official with the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis testified about sexual abuse cases in the church Wednesday.

Former Vicar General Kevin McDonough gave a court-ordered deposition in downtown St. Paul in the Law offices of the Attorneys of  the Archdiocese, which lasted about 6 1/2 hours, according to Jeff Anderson, the attorney of the alleged sex abuse victims.

Attorney Anderson said Fr. McDonough did not answer the final question in the deposition.

He says he asked Fr. McDonough, "Have I exaggerated the danger posed by the practices of the archdiocese?" He says Fr. McDonough replied, "In some cases." Anderson asked which cases. He says Father McDonough refused to answer, and his attorneys abruptly ended the deposition, cutting it short.

“Our position is that we were given eight hours of testimony for this deposition,” said Anderson, “and their position was that we had six and half hours of testimony. We hope to release the deposition as soon as possible,” said Attorney Anderson in a statement.

A statement from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis read in part, "Fr. McDonough responded to questions about his involvement with the archdiocese’s handling of matters involving allegations of clergy sexual abuse while he served as Vicar General between 1991 and 2008, and Delegate for Safe Environment from 2008 to 2013. When needed, he clarified misstatements and mischaracterizations of the incidents that occurred while he held these positions. Father McDonough cooperated throughout the session, which met the court-ordered eight-hour requirement." Read the full statement here.

Attorney Anderson expects the Court will allow additional time to continue the deposition as the Archdiocese failed to supply all the materials prior to the deposition, as ordered by the Court.

Earlier this month, Archbishop John Nienstedt answered questions under oath for the first time. Documents from his testimony have not yet been released, but in a statement the archdiocese says the Archbishop expressed regret for mistakes that were made in the past and assumed responsibility for mistakes that have been made since he became Archbishop of the archdiocese in 2008.

The depositions are 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.