In a three-page order issued Wednesday, Chief Judge Edward Cleary denied requests by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona to block depositions of Nienstedt and former vicar general Kevin McDonough.
Ramsey County Judge John Van de North had ordered the archdiocese to provide the names by Feb. 18. The archdiocese fought the order, arguing it would cause "irreparable harm to the Archdiocese and its clergy," but failed to convince Van de North to change it.
The Twin Cities Archdiocese knew in 2004 that the Rev. Jon Shelley looked for sexual images of minors with Internet search terms such as "free naked boy pictures," according to documents released by St. Paul police.
Six children in a single family have been sexually abused either by the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer or each other. Their mother calls her family's everyday life now a "war zone," bereft of the support the archdiocese once promised. She used to hope some of her sons would become priests. Now she hopes that they survive the effects of the abuse.
The MPR News story published Wednesday said the archdiocese has not disclosed a complete list of clergy accused of child sexual abuse. The story cited police reports, court records and the archdiocese's internal files. In its statement, the archdiocese said that it remains committed to disclosing "substantiated" claims of abuse.
An MPR News investigation found the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has dealt with allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse involving at least 70 clergy members since 1950 -- nearly double the church's official count.
An MPR News investigation found the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has dealt with allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse involving at least 70 clergy members since 1950 -- nearly double the church's official count. Explore an interactive database with details of the allegations against those priests, deacons and monks, along with the locations of their service and their current status.
Lawyers for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona are seeking to block the depositions of Archbishop John Nienstedt and two other priests and halt the ordered release of the names of priests accused of child sexual abuse since 2004.
A Ramsey County judge has ordered the archbishop to be deposed on the policies and practices of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on the handling of abuse allegations, including whether the archdiocese followed its own policies.
Victims' attorney Jeff Anderson sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Thursday then immediately slammed Ramsey County Attorney John Choi for what he called a "defective and deficient" response to allegations that top archdiocese leaders covered up clergy sex abuse. Choi strenuously disagrees.
The document -- a formal decree signed by Nienstedt to comply with church law -- says the archdiocese knew of allegations against the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer on June 18. Yet police reports show the archdiocese didn't report the claims to police until two days later. Wehmeyer pleaded guilty in November 2012 to three counts of criminal sexual conduct and 17 counts of possession of child pornography.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said multiple agencies analyzed disks copied from the Rev. Jonathan Shelley's computer and found insufficient evidence to press charges.
The disclosure comes after similar releases by the St. Cloud, Duluth and Winona dioceses, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and St. John's Abbey in response to public pressure from victims and parishioners and, in some cases, court orders and pending litigation.
Internal financial reports show the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for years spent millions of dollars dealing with clergy misconduct. It created a system that allowed church leaders to remove priests accused of misconduct without attracting attention. But it also left the church vulnerable to embezzlement.
The lawyers have asked Ramsey County Judge John Van de North to suspend the Feb. 5 deadline for the disclosure of the names of priests accused since 2004. In separate court filings, they argued that the judge's order went too far and could harm the reputations of falsely accused priests.