Archdiocese rebuffed by court in effort to stop Nienstedt deposition


A ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals clears the way for attorneys to question Archbishop John Nienstedt under oath about the church's handling of a clergy sex abuse case.

The Pioneer Press reports the court rejected an appeal from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that sought to block the depositions of Nienstedt and a former high-ranking official in the archdiocese.

Ramsey County District Court Judge John Van de North ordered the depositions last month. The information Nienstedt provides will be used in a lawsuit filed by a man who says a priest who sexually abused him had been reassigned from one parish to another as allegations against him accumulated.

As the Associated Press reports, the plaintiff – known in court documents as John Doe 1 – says he was abused in 1976 and 1977 when the Rev. Thomas Adamson was with a church in St. Paul Park.

That's long before Nienstedt became archbishop. MPR reported last month that Nienstedt will be asked about archdiocesan policies for handling abuse claims and whether they were followed. Former Vicar General Kevin McDonough may be asked specifically about Adamson's case and how it was handled.

MPR says attorneys have scheduled Nienstedt's deposition for April 2 and McDonough's for April 16. Originally planned for March, they were postponed while the archdiocese appealed.

Van de North's ruling also required the archdiocese to turn over the names of priests accused of sexually abusing minors since 2004. The archdiocese objected, arguing that some of the priests may be innocent. But the list was turned over to the court, where it remains under seal.

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