Survivor, Attorneys Request the Diocese of New Ulm to Release List of Priests with Credible Allegations of Sexually Abusing Minors
New Ulm is the Only Remaining Minnesota Diocese Refusing to Release its List
Diocese of Duluth urged to Release Documents on Their List of 17 Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse
(Duluth, MN) – At a press conference today in Duluth, a courageous sexual abuse survivor, Doe 30, and his attorneys, requested the Diocese of New Ulm to release its list of priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse. They also asked the Diocese of Duluth to release documents on the 17 priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse, whose names were released on December 31, 2013, as part of a civil lawsuit.
“Right now, the Diocese of New Ulm stands alone in not releasing its list of credibly accused offenders,” stated attorney Mike Finnegan of Jeff Anderson & Associates, who represents Doe 30 in the civil lawsuit filed yesterday in Ramsey County District Court. “We applaud this brave survivor, and other survivors like him, in coming forward and for trying to expose this list. By keeping the list secret, children remain at risk and the Diocese of New Ulm continues to adhere to its decades-long practice of secrecy and silence.”
Doe 30 was a young boy attending St. Thomas More Parish in Lake Lillian, MN, a parish within the geographical boundaries of the Diocese of New Ulm, when he met Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald brought Doe 30 on a trip to Squaw Lake, MN where he proceeded to sexually abuse Doe 30 at St. Catherine’s parish, a church in the Diocese of Duluth. Fitzgerald was participating in a program held at the Willmar State Hospital in Willmar, MN and while participating in the program, worked at St. Thomas More.
The Diocese of New Ulm has admitted to possessing a list of 12 priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse but to-date has refused to release it. On September 16, 2013, survivors Lori Stoltz and Kimberly Schmit filed lawsuits involving sexual abuse by Father David Roney and also requested the New Ulm Diocese to release its list.
Fr. Fitzgerald’s name was included on lists released by both the Diocese of Duluth and the Diocese of Crookston and Fitzgerald was accused of sexually abusing a minor male at the Tekakwitha Orphanage on the lake Traverse Indian Reservation while he worked in the Diocese of Sioux Falls. Now deceased, Fitzgerald also worked in parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Diocese of Springfield (IL), Diocese of Belleville (IL), and the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau (MO).
Doe 30, Stoltz and Schmit are encouraging other survivors of sexual abuse in Minnesota to come forward under Minnesota’s new law, the Child Victims Act, which eliminated the civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims and opened a three-year window for past victims to file suit against the perpetrator and the institution that may have allowed the abuse.
Copies of the Doe 30 complaint, a Fitzgerald Timeline and other information pertaining to the Diocese of New Ulm, Diocese of Duluth and the lists of credibly accused offenders can be found on our website at www.andersonadvocates.com.