Father Thomas Stitts, ordained in 1962, is included on the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis’ list released December 2, 2013, of clergy members credibly accused of child sexual abuse. On August 14, 2014, Stitts’ file was publicly released by Jeff Anderson & Associates as part of a 2013 civil lawsuit. Stitts was assigned to multiple parishes, abusing boys everywhere he worked. Eventually Stitts admitted to having a sexual relationship with two boys.
Upon his death in 1985, Stitts wrote a letter outlining not only his own, but other priest’s sexual activities in the Archdiocese. The priests implicated in the letter begged the Archdiocese to keep the letter secret and eventually the letter was destroyed.
According to the Archdiocese’s list, Father Stitts worked in the following parishes:
· 1962-65 Associate priest, St. Matthew, St. Paul
· 1965-66 Associate priest, Our Lady of Grace, Edina
· 1966-70 Associate priest, Guardian Angels, Hastings
· 1970 Associate priest, Blessed Sacrament, St. Paul
· 1970-73 Administrator, St. Leo, St. Paul
· 1973-80 Pastor, St. George, Long Lake
· 1980-85 Pastor, St. John the Baptist, New Brighten
· Permanently removed from ministry in 1985 and died October 13, 1985.
In 1995, two former altar boys filed lawsuits against Father Stitts claiming the priest sexually abused them at St. Leo’s Church in St. Paul and at Guardian Angels in Hastings during the 1960s and 1970s. The abuse was alleged to have taken place at St. Paul’s Seminary and in the church rectories.
Additional suits were filed against Father Stitts in March, June and November 2010 by Plaintiffs who claimed Father Stitts abused them as children. The lawsuits alleged that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis knew of Stitts’ abuse and failed to protect them. Specifically, the lawsuits alleged that the Archdiocese was made aware of Father Stitts’ sexual abuse, but took no steps to discipline the priest and failed to warn parishioners and family members of the potential danger Father Stitts posed.