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New release reveals alleged pedo-priest was moved around the state

The Rev. Thomas Adamson and a photo of the Cathedral of St. Paul dated 1964
The Rev. Thomas Adamson and a photo of the Cathedral of St. Paul dated 1964

The Diocese of Winona released the names of 14 priests Monday, adding to a growing list of suspected pedophiles throughout the state and confirming what some attorneys and clergy already knew: For decades the Rev. Thomas Adamson moved from parish to parish in the shadow of sexual abuse.

"It is a difficult time for the Church in the Diocese of Winona," reads a statement. "It is also a time of hope which presents an opportunity to heal and continue moving forward."

Adamson now appears on both lists produced by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona. According to a lawsuit filed in Ramsey County court, he molested more than 20 boys between 1964 and 1984, when he was finally suspended from the ministry.

SEE ALSO: Archbishop John Nienstedt apologies for priest sexual abuse, sort of

On one occasion, in the late 1960s, he allegedly asked two boys to disrobe. In 1974, he admitted to having touched another boy's genitals at a YMCA, according to the lawsuit. Police were never called.

Midway through his tenure, in 1975, he was dumped on the parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul Park (and later the Immaculate Conception Church in Columbia Heights). At the time, the lawsuit says, Winona Bishop Loras Watters told Archbishop John Roach that Adamson was being transferred because he needed counseling.

"Despite these clear indications of danger," attorneys wrote, "Archdiocese Officials took no steps to discover the specific nature of Adamson's problems or whether he was fit to work with children."

Adamson is 80 years old and reportedly living in Rochester. We've been unable to reach him independently and attempted to speak with him through the archdiocese. We also await a request to speak with church attorneys about several allegations laid out in the lawsuit involving Adamson.

Jim Keenan, a 46-year-old man who claims to have been abused by Adamson as a teenager, criticized church officials at a recent press conference for having taken this long to acknowledge the problem. For years church officials in Winona and St. Paul resisted calls to name names. A judge put an end to that last month.

"Try to put your hands behind the idea that someone has to force a religious organization to protect children," Keenan said. "That's crazy."

The Winona list comes one day after Archbishop John Nienstedt apologized to parishioners of Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina for not having done more to root out abusers. When he became archbishop in 2007, he said, he'd been told the dark dealings were a thing of the past.

Mike Finnegan, a St. Paul attorney representing several abuse victims, disagrees with Nienstedt's version of reality. As head honcho, Nienstedt was well aware of the complaints in recent years against John Shelly (child porn), Michael Keating (abuse) and Curtis Wehmeyer (child porn and abuse) and even delayed their expulsion from the ministry, Finnegan said.

"He failed to take any personal responsibility or even acknowledge the serious failures that he's made in handling child sex abuse," Finnegan added. "Until he does that, we haven't come close to a true accountability."

 
It's unclear how Nienstedt's word games will affect ongoing criminal investigations. St. Paul police spokesman Howie Padilla declined to comment on the significance of Sunday's mea culpa, saying detectives were preoccupied with finding victims. A "handful or less" have come forward, Padilla said, since the archdiocese's list was released Dec. 5.

"We're going to do everything we can to treat their cases with the respect they deserve," he added.

Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on church officials in other parts of the state to release their own lists, which were produced privately about a decade ago. For instance, the Diocese of St. Cloud has yet to release 26 names and the Diocese of Duluth has yet to release 17.

Last week, St. John's Abbey in Collegeville voluntarily released the names of 18 monks who, in the monastery's own words, "likely have offended against minors." Seven of those men are dead, two have been "dispensed from their religious vows" and -- remarkably -- nine are still toiling away "under supervised safety plans."

Victims advocates complaint that the list doesn't include four previously named monks -- John Eidenschink, Steven Lilly, James Kelly and Isaac Connolly -- and a former abbot, now deceased, Timothy Kelly.

Brother Aelred Senna, an abbey spokesman, did not return a message seeking comment. However, a statement he previously released notes that the task of compiling and releasing the list was

complicated by the passage of time, the deaths of some of those involved and sometimes incomplete accounts of the past. Even so, we are including all 18 names to provide as complete of a list as we can to acknowledge the pain suffered by victims.

Finnegan, the attorney, said his law firm has been in touch with police about the allegations of the abbey monks.

"It alarms us that these men are still on the campus up there at St. John's with hundreds of students around," he said. "They can't possibly monitor these men 24 hours a day."

Click through to the next page for Winona and St. John's Abbey's complete list.

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com

 
The list released Monday by the Diocese of Winona. (Assignment details for anyone other than Adamson can be found by clicking on the name.)

Thomas P. Adamson
Date of Birth: July 12, 1933
Date of Ordination: May 31, 1958
Assignments:
June 13, 1958 - Saint Casimir, Winona, MN
June 13, 1958 - Cotter High School, Winona, MN
June 16, 1961 - Saint Adrian, Adrian, MN
June 16, 1961 - Saint Adrian High School, Adrian, MN
August 16, 1962 - Lourdes High School, Rochester, MN
August 20, 1963 - Saint John's, Caledonia, MN
November 30, 1964 - Lourdes High School, Rochester, MN
June 8, 1966 - Saint Clement, Hammond, MN
June 15, 1967 - Saint Theodore, Albert Lea, MN
August 14, 1968 - Saint Lawrence, Fountain, MN and Saint Kilian, Wykoff, MN
June 24, 1971 - Saint Francis of Assisi, Rochester, MN
June 17, 1976 - Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Paul Park, MN
1979 - Immaculate Conception Church, Columbia Heights, MN
Ministerial Status: Suspended from ministry in 1984 and laicized (2009)
Current Address: Rochester, MN

Sylvester F. Brown - Deceased 2010

Joseph C. Cashman - Permanently removed from ministry in 1992; laicization pending in Canonical Tribunal

Louis G. Cook - Deceased 2004

William D. Curtis - Deceased 2001

John R. Feiten - Deceased 2001

Richard E. Hatch - Deceased 2005

Ferdinand L. Kaiser - Deceased 1973

Jack L. Krough - Permanently removed from ministry in 2002; laicization pending in Canonical Tribunal

Michael J. Kuisle - Deceased 1971

James W. Lennon -Deceased 2000

Leland J. Smith - Permanently removed from ministry in 1994; laicization pending in Canonical Tribunal

Robert H. Taylor - Deceased 2012

Leo Charles Koppala - Administrative leave pending outcome of criminal proceedings in Faribault County, Minnesota

The accused monks of St. John's Abbey, the first nine of whom are still active:

Michael Bik
Richard Eckroth
Thomas Gillespie
Brennan Maiers
Finian McDonald
Dunstan Moorse
James Phillips
Francisco Schulte
Allen Tarlton
Andre Bennett - deceased
Robert Blumeyer - deceased
Cosmas Dahlheimer - deceased
Othmar Hohmann - deceased
Dominic Keller - deceased
Pirmin Wendt - deceased
Bruce Wollmering - deceased
Francis Hoefgen - no longer at the abbey
John Kelly - no longer at the abbey


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