Diocese of Winona Releases Details Surrounding Priest Abuse

Created: 06/23/2014 6:57 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 NewS) -- The Bishop of the Diocese of Winona says he believes the sexual abuse alleged against 13 former priests, actually did take place.

The Diocese of Winona wants be to transparent moving forward. that was its message in its first public statement since former priest Thomas Adamson disclosed that he had sexually abused nearly a dozen victims in the Winona Diocese dating back to the 1960's.

Today, the diocese released an abuse summary of the 13 priests, including Adamson, who've been credibly accused of sexually abusing children within the diocese. At Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona, we heard apologies at a press conference this morning as well as ways the Diocese of Winona is moving forward, while ensuring children are safer than before.

"Having met with enough victims, they don't make these things up,” said Bishop John Quinn, Diocese of Winona. He believes the 13 former priests who've been credibly accused of sexual abuse actually did the crime. “The victims are deeply hurt and as the Bishop of the Diocese I apologize to them and to their families,” he said.

This includes former priest Thomas Adamson, who in a sworn deposition released two weeks ago, admitted to sexually abusing victims from several different parishes throughout the diocese.     

Now, we know much more about the 13 former priests. The abuse summary shows the diocese first became aware of the complaints against Adamson while he was superintendent at St. Johns in Caledonia. At that time, Adamson was sent to in-patient treatment and then cleared to go back to active ministry based on the belief he could be rehabilitated. That was the case for many of the 13 former priests. The diocese now says that's no longer the protocol.

"We report all accusations to law enforcement, not just those that have occurred with 3 years as required by statute,” said Nelle Moriarty, licensed marriage and family therapist.

In an effort to move forward with transparency and healing, the diocese admits mistakes were made. "We have changed in our response and so people who I know are asking the credibility question, they have to allow me to be able to prove that this is consistent and this is the way now we operate,” said Quinn.