The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 22, 2014

Archbishop deposition on abuse made public

(Continued)

The deposition marked the first time since Nienstedt became archbishop six years ago that he has answered questions under oath about the way officials handled allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Anderson's legal team also deposed the Rev. Kevin McDonough, a top church official who led the archdiocese's child safety programs until last September. McDonough's deposition has not yet been made public.

During the interview, which lasted more than four hours, Anderson asked Nienstedt about specific priests as well as about what Nienstedt knew and when he knew it.

Nienstedt said his staff had told him that there was no one in ministry who had credible accusations of abusing children levied against them, and he saw no reason to release the names of the accused priests until he had a "conversion" in 2013, after talking to other church officials.

Nienstedt also said during the interview that McDonough once told him some information should not be put in writing to keep it out of litigation, and he admitted that he followed that advice on less than a dozen occasions.

He also said that the archdiocese provides information to police when police ask for it, or when the archdiocese believes an accusation is credible.

The deposition ended with a heated exchange between attorneys, as counsel for the archdiocese accused Anderson of creating sound bites by suggesting the archdiocese is controlling and concealing information, instead of turning the files over to authorities.

Nienstedt said a consulting firm is currently reviewing priest files and he'll "do what we have to" when the review is complete.

Anderson said the archdiocese has turned over 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents to his legal team, and they have in turn given it all to police.

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