First clergy sex abuse trial under Child Victims Act starts Monday


One of the dozens of lawsuits filed in connection with sexual abuse in the Catholic church starts Monday, in what should be the first case going to trial under special law change.

According to the lawsuit, filed on behalf of Doe 30 by Jeff Anderson and Associates, the plaintiff says he was abused by Fr. J. Vincent Fitzgerald in 1978. Fitzgerald brought Doe 30, then a teenage altar boy, to St. Catherine's in Squaw Lake for a two-week period, and molested him "on a daily basis," according to the suit.

Fitzgerald, who died in 2009, was working as a priest at St. Catherine’s Church at the time, in the Diocese of Duluth.

Doe 30 is suing the Diocese of Duluth over the claims. The jury trial process starts at 9 a.m. Monday, according to online court records, in front of Judge John Gunthmann.

The Duluth News Tribune says, unless a settlement or some other legal action happens, it will be the first case to go to trial as part of the Minnesota Child Victims Act.

Passed in 2013, it lifts the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims until May of 2016, meaning anyone at any age can file a civil lawsuit seeking damages for being sexually abused as a child (until the deadline next spring). Previously, a victim had to file a lawsuit by the time they were 24 years old.

Fitzgerald was named back in August of 2014, when the Diocese of New Ulm released a list of priests suspected of sexual abuse; then again in July of this year, when seven priests of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (which Fitzgerald was a member of) that had been “credibly accused” were publicly named as part of a settlement.

The Diocese of New Ulm was also initially part of the lawsuit, but a judge dismissed it, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 6.56.30 PM

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for central MN, part of Twin Cities

A line of storms is making its way across the state.

Flickr - Enbridge Line 3 Palisade - Lorie Shaull

DNR orders Enbridge to pay $3.32M over Line 3 environmental violations

The pipeline company breached a groundwater aquifer, causing water to flow uncontrolled into a trench.

Eric Kendricks

Eric Kendricks misses practice, lands on injury report

The star linebacker headlines a lengthy list ahead of Week 2.

WIkimedia commons covid vaccine moderna

3 Twin Cities counties reach 16+ vaccination rate of 80%

More than 8 in 10 residents of that age group have gotten at least one dose.

Flickr - Burlington store exterior -

New Burlington location opens in Minneapolis Friday

To celebrate, the company is donating $50K to a neighborhood group and nearby school.

Top Ten Liquors Minnetonka rendering

Top Ten Liquors plans another Twin Cities location

The high-end wine bar and grocery space would take over a former Champps.

London Michael Bean go fund me

Teen charged with fatal shooting of 12-year-old London Bean

A warrant has been issued for the 18-year-old's arrest.

Minnesota Wild

Wild announce national TV broadcast schedule

The Wild will have 13 games nationally televised this season

suni lee

St. Paul's Suni Lee named to Time's list of 100 Most Influential People

Lee won three medals at the Tokyo Olympics, including an all-around gold.

Dunn County WI homicide suspect

1 arrested in quadruple killing, with 'armed and dangerous' suspect at large

The four victims were found in an abandoned SUV in rural Wisconsin.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Rape, incest suspect from Indiana is caught in St. Cloud

The 40-year-old was found in an apartment building.

Rep Tim Miller mn leg

MN rep calls upholding of TX abortion law 'great news for America'

Rep. Tim Miller also outlined a new abortion-related bill he plans to introduce.