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ROCHESTER, Minn. — An area man is coming forward with a lawsuit that claims abuse he says took place half a century ago.
Bill Beardmore and his lawyer made an announcement in Rochester Thursday that they are filing a lawsuit claiming sexual abuse.
“I would like to make it known that I was raped by a priest and that it happened on a number of occasions,” Beardmore said.
He now calls Boone, Iowa home, but he grew up in Caledonia, Minnesota where he says his childhood was spent as an altar boy at St. John’s Parish.
“I had to live right next to the school where the abuse took place every day of my life,” Beardmore said.
He said he kept that abuse a secret for quite a while. In 2002, he said he told church leaders, who then interviewed him and the accused priest, Father Thomas Adamson, who denied the abuse.
“When I went away from that meeting that day, I felt really terrible. It was a, I felt downgraded,” Beardmore said, “I was a little kid, I was an altar boy. I’m the one that was taken advantage of.”
A recent change in Minnesota law changed the statute of limitations, allowing alleged victims of abuse to sue even if it has been decades since the abuse happened. Beardmore said that is why he is coming forward now.
“The Minnesota legislature opened up the law now so that survivors like Bill can come forward privately and anonymously,” said Jeff Anderson, Beardmore’s attorney.
While Beardmore chose not to stay anonymous, he did file a lawsuit against the Diocese of Winona Wednesday.
As part of what they are asking for, Beardmore and his attorney are asking church leaders to release the names of 13 more priests who they believe are also accused.
“The credibly accused besides Adamson are now publicly disclosed and that’s one of the things this suit seeks,” Anderson said.
Beardmore said he wants to make sure other children do not have to face sexual abuse.
“It was a terrible, terrible thing. Changed my life. My faith is gone; my trust is gone in many, many people,” Beardmore said.
Anderson said the Diocese of Winona has just been served and he expects a response from them within 20 days.
We reached out the Diocese of Winona for comment but have not back heard from them yet.