A former Lake Minnetonka clergyman is on a list of priests “credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors in the archdiocese (of St. Paul and Minneapolis),” according to the archdiocese’s newspaper.
Thomas Stitts was a pastor at St. George in Long Lake from 1973 until 1980. His careers ran from 1962 to 1985, when he was permanently removed from the ministry. He died that same year.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis published the list of 34 priests Thursday in the online edition of The Catholic Spirit, the newspaper that serves the archdiocese.
About half of the parishes in the archdiocese—92 out of 188 parishes—had one of the priests on the list there at some point, according to the archdiocese.
The publication was made in response to ongoing lawsuits against priests and the church arising from childhood sexual abuse cases. The archdiocese and Diocese of Winona originally sought to seal the list—which was created in 2004 and included 33 of the 34 priests named today, according to the Star Tribune.
The courts agreed to seal the list in 2009. But Archbishop John Nienstedt reversed course after the church was accused of shielding priests—allegations that gained extra fuel in recent months from a Minnesota Public Radio exposé.
The information being released comes mostly from reported incidents that occurred between the mid-1950s and 1980s, according to The Catholic Spirit.
“All have been permanently removed from ministry or are deceased,” the article said.The church says it is engaged in a comprehensive review of clergy files and will update the list as it makes additional announcements.