When clergy sex abuse threatened to become a scandal in the Twin Cities, the archbishop in charge covered it up. So did the next archbishop, and the next.
Twin Cities church leaders in 1987 were confronting allegations the Rev. Joseph Wajda was sexually abusing children. In at least one instance, though, the archbishop wanted to fight back.
Archbishop John Nienstedt, who has led the archdiocese's response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal for nearly a year, confirmed in a statement Tuesday that he ordered a private investigation into unspecified allegations against himself.
A Minneapolis law firm has been secretly investigating the private life of Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt for the past six months. Nienstedt acknowledged that he authorized an investigation into allegations made against him.
The Rev. Jerome Kern testified that he would grab boys while swimming or wrestling. He said he didn't consider it to be sexual abuse at the time — and that no one from the archdiocese told him it was harmful or illegal. "I was always a teaser, and I liked to tease, you know."
St. Louis archbishop Robert Carlson — who served in the Twin Cities for 24 years — testified last month that he wasn't sure whether he knew it was illegal for priests to have sex with children when he served as chancellor of the Twin Cities archdiocese in the 1980s, according to a transcript released Monday.
Former Twin Cities archbishop Harry Flynn said at least 134 times that he could not remember how he handled clergy sexual abuse cases during his 13-year tenure, according to a deposition made public today.
The announcement comes amid an internal investigation into whether Don Briel, director and founder of the Center for Catholic Studies, or others at the university knew that an archdiocesan board had recommended that the Rev. Michael Keating, a professor of Catholic Studies, not mentor young adults.
A former top archdiocesan official contradicted Archbishop John Nienstedt's account of how top officials responded to a sexual abuse claim against a Catholic priest, according to sworn testimony made public today.
The Catholic Services Appeal Foundation asked priests in the May 2 letter to boost fundraising at parishes, but said the effort remains on track compared to the same period last year.
For nearly three decades in various roles throughout the archdiocese, the Rev. Kevin McDonough assured parishioners in dozens of interviews and personal conversations that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was a national leader in fighting abuse.
Nienstedt said he had followed a subordinate's advice that he keep no written notes of certain discussions, in case those notes should later become public in legal proceedings. He said that he didn't publicly disclose which priests were being monitored, and that he relied on others to keep parish trustees informed.
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents the alleged victim of the Rev. Thomas Adamson, said McDonough answered most questions. However, McDonough refused to respond to questions about his decision not to participate in a St. Paul police investigation into clergy abuse cases, Anderson said.
In November, the Rev. David Barrett went on leave as assistant pastor of St. Wenceslaus in New Prague, Minn., for what the archdiocese described as sexual misconduct not involving minors that took place more than a decade ago.
Poor oversight and flawed policies are among the serious shortcomings inside the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that opened the door "for some priests to harm children," a panel ordered by the archbishop concluded Monday.