Updated: 02/12/2014 10:54 PM
Created: 02/12/2014 4:51 PM WDIO.com
Father James Vincent Fitzgerald worked in the Duluth Diocese for more than 20 years. His parishes were in the northern part of the diocese, in Northome, Bigfork, Effie, Orr, Nett Lake, and Squaw Lake, according to the diocese.
It was when he served the Squaw Lake area that he allegedly abused an altar boy.
The boy was from the New Ulm area, and had met Fitzgerald at an educational church program, according to attorney Mike Finnegan.
"He was a devout Catholic, from a devout Catholic family, and was happy to volunteer to go north to Squaw Lake. Then he was trapped with the priest for two weeks," said Finnegan, who is the attorney for the alleged victim, known as Doe 30.
Doe 30 has filed a lawsuit in Ramsey County, against the Diocese of Duluth, the Diocese of New Ulm, and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
He alleges the church knew about the abuse, covered it up, and moved Fitzgerald to other parishes. He's demanding the release of any files on Fitzgerald, that may show the church knew about the alleged abuse.
Finnegan's report said that Fitzgerald is named in a lawsuit over alleged abuse involving two victims from South Dakota, and a lawsuit involving one victim from White Earth.
His name is on the list of credibly accused priests that was released in December by the Diocese of Duluth.
Fitzgerald died in 2009.
Verne Wagner, northern director of SNAP (Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests), said that they have formed a support group for people affected by priest abuse. "We can help you, and keep you anonymous."
For more information: http://www.snapnetwork.org
The Diocese of Duluth released a statement about the lawsuit. In it, it says that Fitzgerald did work for them from 1957-1983. It also says, "The diocese has no record of any allegations of abuse during that time, and had no knowledge of abuse allegations against Father Fitzgerald anywhere else until late 2013."
"It is our most profound hope and the daily subject of our prayers that all those who suffered abuse by a member of our clergy find peace and healing through the love of Christ and that they come forward to civil authorities and to the church's diocesan assistance coordinators."
1,000-foot Laker Freed After Being Stuck near Bayfront Park
A laker ran aground near Bayfront Park in Duluth. Right before 4 p.m., the 1,000-foot laker got stuck right near shore. The laker was finally freed, with the help of two tug boats, at around 7 p.m.
Judge Rejects Minn. Plan for Disability Reforms
A federal judge has rejected a state plan to reduce the segregation of people with disabilities, saying it was too vague and lacked measurable goals.
A Special Feat for a Very Special Athlete: Superior Man Earns Black Belt
Brandon Moe has been training in Karate Taekwondo since he was a little boy. Saturday, he went for his first degree black belt, a proud moment for his mother who said complications at his birth didn't guarantee he'd be here today.
"Walk a Mile in Our Shoes" Raises Money for Steps Center
We all know that getting enough exercise is an important factor in staying healthy, but on Saturday, the annual "Walk a Mile In Our Shoes" event also raised thousands of dollars for the Steps Center.
Winds Keep Hot Air Balloons Down... Again.
Kites and hot air balloons were in Bayfront Festival Park on Saturday, but unfortunately, that wind grounded the balloons for a second year in a row. They're hoping to try for another balloon launch on Sunday.