Rev. Thomas S. Stitts

Summary of Case: A parish priest of the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese ordained in 1962, Stitts died in 1985 at age 50. He was named in lawsuits in 1995 and again in 2010 as having sexually abused at least a dozen boys in the 1960s and 1970s. The archdiocese was alleged to have known of Stitts' sexual of abuse of children as early as 1970, but took no action to discipline him or to prevent further abuse by him. Archdiocesan officials deniend hiding information about Stitts.

Ordained
: 1962
Incardinated: St. Paul and Minneapolis
Died: Oct. 13, 1985


     

Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1962

St. Paul archbishop was Leo Binz (1961-1975)

1965 St. Matthew's St. Paul MN 3/3, 2/3 St. Matthew's had a school with 905-901 students.
1965 1966 Our Lady of Grace

Edna

In a fourth lawsuit involving Stitts, four brothers from Edna claimed in 2010 that Stitts befriended their family when they were children and he was a priest at Our Lady of Grace. These accusers said their abuse occurred between 1967 and 1973.

MN 2/2

Our Lady of Grace had a school with 544 students.

This lawsuit claims that in 1970 and several subsequent times archdiocesan supervisors were made aware of Stitts' abusive behavior, but did nothing to discipline Stitts or to protect other children.

June 1966 June 1970 Guardian Angels

Hastings

Stitts was accused in a 1995 lawsuit of having sexually abused a Guardian Angels altar boy from 1967-1970, beginning when the boy was 11 years old. Stitts is said to have abused the boy after mass and in the church rectory.

In 2010 a man accused Stitts of having sexually abused him when he was a 10 year-old Guardian Angels school student, in about 1967. He said he told the school principal, who told him never to speak like that about Father, and that there must be something wrong with him if he did.

Another man in 2010 accused Stitts of sexually abusing him as a 9 or 10 year old boy in 1966 or 1967.

MN 2/2 Guardian Angels had a school with 590-438 students.
June 1970 Sept. 1970 Blessed Sacrament St. Paul MN assistant pastor This assignment is per news reports.
Sept. 1970 Oct. 1973 St. Leo's

St. Paul

Stitts was accused in a 1995 lawsuit of having sexually abused an 11 year-old St. Leo's altar boy, beginning in 1973. The abuse is said to have taken place in the rectory and at St. Paul's Seminary.

In a March 2010 lawsuit four men accused Stitts of having sexually abused them as boys between the ages of 10 and 14, in the 1970s at St. Leo's. The men claimed in 2010 that they had only recently learned all of them were sexually abused by Stitts, and that each thought he was the only one abused.

MN 2/3 Administrator

St. Leo's had a school with 312-485 students.

 

 

 

 


The four accusers in 2010 claimed the archdiocese knew Stitts was a perpetrator yet put children in harm's way by transferring him from parish to parish. The archdiocese denied hiding information.

1973

Binz was succeeded by John Robert Roach (1975-1995)

1980 St. George's Long Lake MN 1/1  
1980 1985 St. John the Baptist New Brighton MN 1/3, 1/4

St. John's had a school with 491-439 students.

Stitts was permanently removed from ministry in 1985, per the archdiocese.

Stitts died Oct. 13, 1985.

 

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1963-1986)

Men Claiming Sex Abuse by Priest Sue Archdiocese, 2 Area Churches, Alleged Molester Died 10 Years Ago, By Wayne Wangstad,
Saint Paul Pioneer Press, January 24, 1995
Men Sue St. Paul Archdiocese over Abuse Allegation, By Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio , March 18, 2010
Four Boyhood Friends Claim Abuse by St. Paul Priest; Church Denies Coverup, Star Tribune, March 19, 2010
Two More Men Join Abuse Lawsuit against St. Paul Priest, By Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio, June 29, 2010
2 More Men Say Former Hastings Priest Sexually Abused Them As Kids, By Emily Gurnon, Pioneer Press, June 29, 2010
2 More Men Claim Abuse by St. Paul Priest, Archdiocese denies that it covered up reports about misbehavior., By Jeff Strickler,
Star Tribune, June 30, 2010
Archdiocese Sued over Alleged Sexual Abuse of 4 Edina Brothers, KSTP, November 17, 2010
Pioneer Press 11.03.93; St Paul & Minneapolis List of Credibly Accused Priests, released Dec. 5, 2013



Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Stitts' career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Dec. 9, 2013


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