The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 7, 2013

Twin Cities archdiocese to investigate allegations

(Continued)

"They'll shuffle some people. They'll shuffle some titles. And then two years from now, we'll be back here talking about a new case," said Frank Meuers, a Plymouth man who said archdiocesan officials have been unresponsive to his story of abuse at a Golden Valley church in the 1950s and '60s — even after encouraging people like him to come forward.

Former archdiocese employee Jennifer Haselberger issued a statement Saturday calling for an external review of priest files. She resigned from her job as chancellor for canonical affairs in April because of concerns about the way sexual abuse allegations were handled.

Haselberger said she not only talked to church officials about Wehmeyer years ago, but that the archdiocese also failed to report what she believed to be child pornography to police, so she went to authorities herself.

An attorney for the archdiocese said Friday that neither police investigators nor a computer forensics expert found evidence to support her child pornography allegations.

In an email response to a question from The Associated Press, Haselberger said Monday she has a great deal of respect for Whitt.

"At the same time, I believe that a comprehensive, external review of ALL clergy files is essential, followed by the removal from ministry and publication of the names of those who have been determined to have engaged in acts of sexual misconduct, as well as those whom could reasonably be assumed to pose a threat to children and young people," she wrote.

Nienstedt said the task force will operate independently and have full authority and resources to complete its work. Its findings and recommendations will be released publicly when the final report is complete. A timetable was not given.

"There can be no room for misconduct among our clergy and our standard must be zero tolerance for abuse of minors and vulnerable adults," Nienstedt said.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is home to about 825,000 Catholics and encompasses 188 parishes in 12 counties.

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Associated Press writer Patrick Condon in St. Paul contributed to this report.

 

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