Kevin McDonough, former vicar general, questioned about handling of sex abuse cases


Attorney Jeff Anderson questioned a second top official of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Wednesday and again walked away complaining that he'd been cheated out of time.

Father Kevin McDonough, a former vicar general, was supposed to undergo eight hours of court-ordered testimony in preparation for a civil sex abuse trial, but Anderson claims he only got six and a half.

See also:

Attorney: Archbishop John Nienstedt walked out of deposition before completed

In a press release, Anderson says McDonough ended the deposition early on the advice of his counsel when pressed about whether claims made in the present lawsuit have been exaggerated. Anderson is suing the archdiocese on the grounds that it poses a threat to the entire population.

The crusading St. Paul attorney intends to take his complaint against McDonough to a Ramsey County judge -- an act that could ultimately make the transcript and videotape open to the public.

Attorney Jeff Anderson

Attorney Jeff Anderson

Wednesday's showdown comes two weeks after John Nienstedt submitted to four hours of interrogation. That same day Anderson accused the archbishop of walking out mid-question and failing to turn over all relevant documents ahead of time. Just this week the archdiocese handed over more than a dozen cases files related to internal investigations, one of which totals 3,207 pages.

A statement released Wednesday by the archdiocese responds to Anderson's latest complaint by saying McDonough cooperated throughout the eight-hour interview. During that time, McDonough "clarified misstatements and mischaracterizations" of the alleged crimes that took place during his watch. It concludes:

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(d) by sexual abuse is serious and grave.

As vicar general, between 1991 and 2008, McDonough vetted sex abuse claims. Internal memos show that, for years, he reported to his superiors about the archdiocese's exposure to lawsuits. His tenure as clerical detective first came into question publicly this fall with the release of an MPR report suggesting he and other officials shielded a priest who's now in jail.

A 56-page report released Monday by an internal task force criticized the archdiocese for "a flawed organizational structure with little oversight" that "created opportunities" for abuse. It passes blame on the institution rather than the people in charge.

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to [email protected]