Jury award to Duluth ‘exiled’ priest confirmed – Duluth News Tribune

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld a Duluth jury’s finding that awarded $13,500 to the Reverend William Graham, who sued a man who accused him of child sex abuse.

A state district court jury last August accepted Graham’s claim that the action against him interfered with his contractual obligations, but said accuser Terrence Jerome Davis Jr. had no intentionally inflicted emotional distress, as Graham’s countersuit alleged.

In December, Sixth Judicial District Judge Theresa Neo denied a motion by Bryant to vacate the verdict or order a new trial.

A three-member appeal panel upheld Neo’s decisions in a decision filed Monday. Judge Denise D. Reilly, writing for the appeals court, noted that Davis’ 2016 lawsuit against Graham remains unresolved.

When Davis’ charges were raised, the Diocese of Duluth conducted its own investigation, concluding that Graham had been “credibly charged.” He continues to collect his salary and benefits, but was removed from his post as a priest at St. Michael’s Church in the Lakeside neighborhood of Duluth.

In a telephone interview on Monday, Graham said he expects a decision in the coming months on his appeal to the Supreme Court of the Catholic Church in Rome to be reinstated to his position at St. Michael’s.

As he has done before, Graham insisted he was still the pastor of St. Michael’s, “living in exile.”

“I expect Rome to change things,” he said.

Graham forwarded a copy of the appeals court decision to the News Tribune just before 5 p.m. Monday, and Michael Bryant, the Waite Park, Minn., attorney representing Davis, could not be reached for after-hours comment. .

Bryant has said in the past that he and Davis stand by their accusation. Davis’ suit was filed in May 2016, just days before the deadline for filing claims in the diocese’s bankruptcy. He alleges that Graham abused Davis on at least three occasions in the 1970s, when Davis was around 15 years old.

Kyle Eller, spokesperson for the Diocese of Duluth, also could not be reached. He has said in the past that the decision to remove Graham from the prosecution “was complete”.

Graham, 69, said he has every intention of returning to serve his parish.

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