An accusation of inappropriate touching of a minor against one of America’s top Catholic Archbishops has opened the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota Archdiocese to national attention, and it’s not looking good.
Yesterday, Archbishop John Nienstedt voluntarily stepped aside as he was accused of inappropriately touching the buttocks of a young boy in 2009. He denies the charges.
Now, the nation is learning that there are other sex abuse investigations taking place by police of Nienstedt’s archdiocese — and they are being stalled by an uncooperative church.
“I want to let the public know one thing: let me be very clear on this,” St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith told reporters yesterday. “We have through written and verbal requests made clear our desire to speak to individuals connected to the archdiocese and we have been told no.”
“We have been told no”? Who gets to tell the police, “No, we will not speak with you”?
KSTP reports that “Smith says police have not had the access to interview clergy members in recent investigations into the previous allegations.”
As late as last week, Smith said they were told no.
“In order for us to bring these cases to the next step in the process of concluding investigations and to bring them to closure, we again, now publicly, call upon those individuals to speak with us,” Smith said. “That’s why we are here today.”
Nienstedt is perhaps is best known for having spammed 400,000 Minnesota homes with unrequested anti-gay DVDs in a failed attempt to get voters to ban same-sex marriage last year. While the DVDs reportedly were paid for by an anonymous donor, Nienstedt did spend $600,000 in Church funds to lobby against the same-sex marriage initiative.
Last year, Nienstedt told a mother who asked him for acceptance for her gay child that she might go to hell if she does not embrace the Church’s teachings.
In September of this year, Archbishop Nienstedt claimed that “Satan” is “the source” of same-sex marriage.
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