The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 19, 2014

Report: Church list of alleged abusers too short

ST. PAUL (AP) — A list from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis of 33 priests "credibly accused" of sexual abuse was incomplete and the actual number was more than double the archdiocese's official count, Minnesota Public Radio News reported Wednesday.

MPR reported that its investigation found that the archdiocese dealt with allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse involving at least 70 clergy members since 1950. The station posted a searchable database on them. The priests served in nearly every parish of the archdiocese, according to MPR, which based its own list on a review of other lists compiled by church officials, court records, private settlements, police reports and hundreds of internal church documents.

The station said it also found more than a dozen other priests referred to as possible child abusers in private lists and memos but could find no information about their alleged crimes. MPR said it was not naming them.

The list of 33 was just one of many lists of accused priests stored on computers and in filing cabinets at the chancery in St. Paul. Church officials later stopped writing lists for fear they would have to be disclosed in lawsuits, said Jennifer Haselberger, a former canon lawyer for the archdiocese who resigned last April in protest of its handling of clergy sexual misconduct. She then became a whistleblower.

It's not clear why some men weren't named on the official list of 33, which was compiled by the Rev. Kevin McDonough, former vicar general of the archdiocese, at the height of the national clergy abuse scandal 11 years ago, MPR reported. The archdiocese acknowledged the existence of the list in 2003 but declined to release the names until a judge ordered the archdiocese to do so in December. Documents suggest that McDonough in several cases simply lost track of all the allegations, the report said.

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