Former vicar general deposed in clergy sex abuse case

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A second top official with the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis testified under oath Wednesday about his handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations in the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese, in a deposition conducted by an attorney for a sex abuse victim.

Former Vicar General Kevin McDonough was questioned by attorney Jeff Anderson in a downtown St. Paul law office, KSTP reports. The deposition lasted about six and a half hours, and ended around 6 p.m., according to a statement released by Anderson Wednesday evening.

The lawsuit was filed by a man who claims he was sexually abused by a priest, the Rev. Thomas Adamson, in the 1970s when he was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Paul Park.

Anderson deposed Archbishop John Nienstedt earlier this month in connection with the same lawsuit. It's the first time either church official has testified under oath about the archdiocese's handling of clergy sexual abuse cases dating back several years.

Anderson said in his statement that McDonough's deposition should have been eight hours instead of six and a half. He also said that McDonough did not answer the last question he was posed.

"The testimony today concluded with attorney Jeff Anderson asking Father McDonough if he, Jeff Anderson, had exaggerated the risk posed to the public by the practices employed by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. McDonough replied there has been some exaggeration in some cases. When asked what instances those were, McDonough refused to answer the question and was instructed by his attorneys that the deposition had concluded and time had expired."

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a statement Wednesday evening.

"In today’s deposition, Father Kevin McDonough responded to questions about his involvement with the archdiocese’s handling of matters involving allegations of clergy sexual abuse while he served as Vicar General between 1991 and 2008, and Delegate for Safe Environment from 2008 to 2013. When needed, he clarified misstatements and mischaracterizations of the incidents that occurred while he held these positions.

Fr. McDonough cooperated throughout the session which met the court-ordered eight-hour requirement.

Father McDonough emphasized that he always had the best interests of children and the vulnerable in mind when doing his work. He also acknowledged that the harm cause by sexual abuse is serious and grave. "

McDonough served as vicar general from 1991 to 2008. In that role he was the archbishop's "second in command," and was in charge of the archdiocese's internal investigations into abuse claims, WCCO reports.

His handling of those claims has come under intense scrutiny in recent months. He was strongly criticized in a report released this week by an internal task force which found serious shortcomings in the way the archdiocese handles clergy abuse cases.

McDonough now serves as pastor of St. Peter Claver parish in St. Paul and The Church of the Incarnation/Sagrado Corazon in Minneapolis.

Anderson has said he hopes to release portions of the two depositions within the next several weeks.

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