The Catholic Diocese of Winona says it is committed to the protection and safety of children and young people in its care. That response was issued Friday after a former Winona Diocese priest told a Twin Cities news conference on Thursday he reported suspicions about another former priest, Thomas Adamson, to the diocese in 1965.
Jim Fitzpatrick, who is no longer a priest, said the then-bishop brushed him off and ushered him out of the bishop's office.
The 79-year-old Adamson who is living in Rochester, was later defrocked after allegations of numerous assaults on children became public in the 1980s. Fitzpatrick was to have been a witness in the civil case against the Winona Diocese and the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul filed by Jim Keenan of Savage. That case was dismissed by the Minnesota Supreme court this week.
The Winona Diocese said, in a statement on its website, it acknowledges the mistakes it has made in the past in handling reports of sexual abuse and has worked since the 1980s to implement stringent policies and procedures to protect children and young adults.
The policies of the Diocese's "Safe Environment Program" are strictly implemented to ensure the safety of all those who have been entrusted to the care of the Diocese's parishes, schools, religious education classes, and other programs.