The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 18, 2013

Minn. police ask sex abuse victims to step up

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — St. Paul police on Thursday asked anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest to come forward and report their experiences to law enforcement.

Police Cmdr. Mary Nash addressed potential victims directly during a news conference, saying: "We want to hear from you. We want to hear your story."

"Whether you have come forward with your abuse or whether you are working to cross that threshold of disclosure, you are stronger than you know," she said.

Nash made the plea as police continue to investigate allegations that a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis may have had child pornography on his computer in 2004. Police had closed that case, after finding no evidence of illegal images, but reopened it earlier this month after receiving new information.

Nash declined to elaborate on the investigation or its scope, saying it is ongoing.

The archdiocese says it also encourages anyone who suspects sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult to first contact law enforcement.

Last week, the archdiocese created an independent task force to examine the way church officials have handled accusations of sexual misconduct by priests.

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