Jury Awards Plaintiff $8.1 Million in Duluth Clergy Abuse Case

A Ramsey County jury has awarded $8.1 million to a man who says he was molested as a boy by a priest from the Duluth diocese. 

The jury sided with 52-year-old William Weis, who says he was sexually abused by the Reverend James Fitzgerald at St. Catherine’s Church in Squaw Lake in 1978. 

The jury attributed 60 percent fault to the Diocese of Duluth and the other 40 percent to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a religious order based in St. Paul. 

Father Fitzgerald was an Oblate priest working in the Diocese of Duluth when the abuse happened. 

Weis met Father Fitzgerald at St. Thomas More Church in Lake Lillian, Minnesota. 

The priest then brought him to St. Catherine’s Church, where Weis says he was sexually abused over a two week period. 

Attorney Jeff Anderson says the verdict sends a message and a wake-up call to all communities and organizations, near and far, that the most important thing is the safety of our children. 

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