Judge allows more questioning of former vicar general, but not archbishop

| July 2, 2014

A Ramsey County judge will allow attorneys for an alleged victim of clergy sexual abuse to ask more questions of Father Kevin McDonough, former vicar general for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

At the June 25 hearing in Ramsey County District Court, Judge John Van de North denied a similar request from St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson and his associate Michael Finnegan to also bring in Archbishop John Nienstedt for more questioning. Archbishop Nienstedt and Father McDonough provided depositions in April.

The rulings are part of a lawsuit involving a plaintiff known as “John Doe 1.” The plaintiff alleges that a former priest of the Diocese of Winona, Thomas Adamson, who had assignments in the archdiocese, sexually abused him in the 1970s when he was a minor.

Judge Van de North ordered that the deposition of Father McDonough last for two and half hours, which includes time for breaks, citing him as a “central figure” in the handling of abuse allegations against priests.

To date, the archdiocese has provided Anderson’s firm more than 46,000 pages of clergy file documents within two months, complying with the court order. Anderson argued his firm did not receive the documents in time to fully prepare for the depositions of former archdiocesan officials. Attorneys for the archdiocese cited the amount of time and effort it takes to be thorough and accurate in reviewing and submitting documents containing confidential information about victims.

“We’ve been clear that it is a huge undertaking,” said Tom Wieser of Meier, Kennedy and Quinn, who represents the archdiocese with Daniel Haws of Murnane Brandt. “It is unprecedented how much information we’ve had to provide in a short deadline.”

Category: Local News

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