Accused priest briefly served at local parish

St. Paul Attorney Jeff Anderson announced on May 29 that he filed a civil complaint on behalf of a 51-year old Twin Cities man, who will remain anonymous, seeking the disclosure of a list of 46 priests from the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona who had credible complaints of sexual abuse made against them. The civil lawsuit also named Fr. Thomas Adamson as a defendant. According to a press release announcing the lawsuit, Adamson briefly served at St. Boniface Catholic Church in St. Bonifacius in 1976.
According to the release, Adamson was transferred between numerous parishes where he worked with children, even after Adamson admitted abuse to Diocese officials.
Adamson, who was moved between 15 locations over a 20 year period, is thought to have molested boys in almost every parish in which he served.
The lawsuit seeks to hold the Archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona accountable for protecting Adamson and endangering children and public safety by concealing or ignoring his abuse of children.
“Institutions like the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona should not be able to shelter abusers like Father Adamson from justice,” said Anderson, a St. Paul based, internationally known trial lawyer who is widely recognized as a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation. Anderson has represented thousands of survivors of sexual abuse by authority figures and clergy.
“This courageous action seeks the discharge of the priests credibly accused of abuse,” Anderson added. “Until these ‘secret’ lists are released to the public, children are at great peril. Once the list is released, we can make sure sexual abuse is not being swept under the rug and that all victims of abuse in Minnesota can begin to heal.”
Anderson was joined by Jim Keenan, a survivor of abuse who met Adamson in Burnsville, Minn., and Jim Fitzpatrick, a retired priest who reported abuse by Father Adamson in 1963.
“Today marks another step towards holding institutions accountable for protecting abusers instead of protecting kids,” Fitzpatrick said. “Instead of removing Father Adamson after he admitted to abusing numerous boys, the Archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona moved him from parish to parish and allowed him to continue his pattern of abuse.”
Anderson’s lawsuit is the first made possible by the newly enacted Minnesota Child Victims Act. The law 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.
Fr. Tom Balluff of St. Boniface Catholic Church had no comment at this time regarding the announcement.