Winona Diocese appeals to move clergy abuse trial from Ramsey County

Attorneys argue that the church can’t get a fair trial in Ramsey County.

The Diocese of Winona has asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to throw out a recent court decision to keep a high-profile clergy abuse trial in Ramsey County.

Diocese attorneys argued that they could not get a fair trial in Ramsey County because of widespread media coverage of the clergy abuse case and because their survey of potential jurors indicated that more than a third had already made up their minds about the case.

At issue is a lawsuit filed last year by an alleged victim of former priest Tom Adamson. It claims Adamson had sexually abused children in the Winona Diocese before he was transferred to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the 1970s and abused the alleged victim. The lawsuit has resulted in an unprecedented release of documents related to clergy abuse.

Earlier this summer, the Winona Diocese filed a motion in Ramsey County District Court to move the trial. But Judge John Van de North ruled Aug. 4 that the trial should remain in Ramsey County.

The appeal comes a day after Van de North ruled that the trial date could be moved from Sept. 22 to Nov. 3. The move was requested by the church and attorneys for the plaintiff.

 

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511

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