Attorney: Archbishop John Nienstedt walked out of deposition before completed

Categories: Crime, Religion
Artwork by Martin Ontiveros for our March 19 cover story
The law firm of Jeff Anderson deposed Archbishop John Nienstedt on Wednesday, marking the first time the head holy man has been forced to answer questions about sexual abuse allegations during his seven-year reign over the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Anderson's firm is tight-lipped about what was discussed during a four-hour window allotted by the court, but was bothered -- if not surprised -- by what it considers to be attempts by Nienstedt's attorneys to subvert the interrogation. Although his time had ended, Nienstedt apparently walked out of the room when pressed about whether he would turn over all the information he possessed on abusive priests to local cops and prosecutors.

See also:
How Patrick Wall became the Catholic church's worst nightmare

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The Diocese of New Ulm is suing other churches

Categories: Crime, Religion
The Church of St. Thomas in the Diocese of New Ulm
A Catholic diocese in Minnesota is suing both a diocese in Ireland and a controversial religious order, shifting responsibility for a dead priest who allegedly abused several children.

A lawsuit filed in February by the Diocese of New Ulm claims it never would have brought that priest into a Granite Falls parish in the 1980s had it known the truth of his past, according to a report by MPR and KARE-11.

See also:
Francis Hoefgen: Portrait of an abusive priest

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Archbishop John Nienstedt compelled to testify about handling of sexual abuse claims

Categories: Crime, Religion
Archbishop John Nienstedt
On Tuesday, a Ramsey County judge ordered Archbishop John Nienstedt and former Vicar General Kevin McDonough to testify under oath about how they handled allegations of sexual abuse by local priests.

In a rare move, Judge John Van de North also ruled that attorneys for an alleged victim, led by Jeff Anderson, could review previously unreleased internal documents from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis related to sexual abuse claims.

"It's a very important decision for the survivor and for the idea all survivors deserve justice," said Mike Finnegan, who works for Anderson's firm. Nienstedt and McDonough "are going to have to answer those tough questions that they've evaded for years."

SEE ALSO: St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith: Archdiocese has been uncooperative with investigations

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Humanist group threatens to sue Robbinsdale schools over student trips to church

Image via Calvary Lutheran Church's Facebook page
Robbinsdale schools is being accused of violating the Establishment Clause by sending students to this church.
-- Update at bottom --

The D.C.-based American Humanist Association is threatening to sue Robbinsdale Area Schools and the district's engineering and arts magnet school over field trips students have taken to the Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley the last two academic years.

SEE ALSO: Hudson school apologizes for making students watch clip of celebs pledging loyalty to Obama

A letter sent yesterday to the district's executive director of academics and the School of Engineering and Arts' principal accuses administrators of dismissing a parent's objection to the trips, which involve students putting together "manna" packages to feed hungry people.

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Ramsey Co Attorney John Choi will not file charges against archdiocese in Wehmeyer case

Categories: Crime, Religion
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi
Authorities say they cannot prove that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis violated mandatory reporting requirements in connection with convicted former priest Curtis Wehmeyer.

No charges will be filed against church officials in this instance, though Ramsey County Attorney John Choi told reporters Wednesday that he's "troubled" by other cases that have come to his office. He vowed that this is "only the beginning" of their investigations.

SEE ALSO: Curtis Wehmeyer, St. Paul pastor, arrested on suspicion of sexual assault

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Joe Soucheray skeptical of allegation Archbishop Nienstedt touched a boy's butt

Categories: Media, Religion
Souch: "If somehow the touching of another is a crime, then there are people in all walks of life who will hang side by side."
John Nienstedt, archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, took leave from his duties last Tuesday after being hit with an allegation he touched a boy's butt during a confirmation ceremony photo shoot in 2009.

SEE ALSO: Joe Soucheray blames single moms for flight delays, unplowed streets

In a statement released that day, Nienstedt vehemently denied the accusation (details about it remain scant at this point), but the timing couldn't have been worse -- just days earlier, Nienstedt offered up a wishy-washy public apology for not doing more to root out sexual abusers from his church and for taking inadequate measures to prevent priests from engaging in sexually abusive behavior.

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Attorney Jeff Anderson apologizes for photo fail as Catholic sex abuse scandal grows

Categories: Crime, Religion
Posters featured at a press conference on Dec. 5 in St. Paul containing the pictures of some archdiocese priests who allegedly abused minors
He couldn't have been more clear.

Both before and after a press conference on Dec. 5 -- when he joined the victims of pedophile priests in his St. Paul office -- attorney Jeff Anderson pointed to the photo of a smiling, bespectacled holy man. His eggshell of a head reflected more light than his collar.

Earlier that day, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had disclosed the names of 34 priests who'd been, in its own words, "credibly accused" of sexually abusing a minor. Anderson's office compiled headshots to hang behind the podium, including one of the Rev. Patrick J. Ryan. Only it was the wrong Patrick J. Ryan.

SEE ALSO: Jeff Anderson crusades against the Catholic Church - Minnesota lawyer has made millions suing

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Catholic Defense League blasts MPR's coverage of sex scandal, calls for police investigation

The Catholic Defense League is waging an offensive against reporters exposing alleged archdiocese misconduct.
In recent months, MPR has been all over the unfolding Twin Cities Catholic church sex scandal, breaking story after story about priests who have been accused of sexual abuse and possible cover-ups by church officials.

RELATED: Archbishop John Nienstedt steps aside amid allegation he touched boy's buttocks

But now, the Catholic Defense League is accusing MPR of taking a play out of the church's playbook. In a statement released today, a CDL spokesman says, "We find it disturbing and completely hypocritical for MPR to criticize the church for withholding information when, in fact, they appear to be holding back information to benefit their editorial schedule."

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St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith: Archdiocese has been uncooperative with investigations

St. Paul police went to the press today to help force the church into speaking with his investigators
St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith says that, despite the claims of church officials, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has not fully cooperated with sexual abuse investigations.

In one instance, Smith told reporters today, the archdiocese rebuffed his request to speak directly to the Rev. Kevin McDonough, a former Minnesota Senate chaplain who investigated claims against his fellow priests.

"We have, through written and verbal requests, made clear our desire to speak to individuals connected with the archdiocese and we've been told, 'No,'" he said. "In order for us to bring these cases to the next step in the process...we again now publicly call upon those individuals to speak with us."

SEE ALSO: Archbishop John Nienstedt steps aside amid allegation he touched boy's buttocks

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Archbishop John Nienstedt steps aside amid allegation he touched boy's buttocks [UPDATE]

Categories: Religion
Niendstedt: "I presume [the boy] is sincere in believing what he claims, but I must say that this allegation is absolutely and entirely false."
:::: UPDATE :::: St. Paul police Chief Tom Smith: Archdiocese has been uncooperative with investigations

Two days after he issued a wishy-washy public apology about the Twin Cities Catholic church's still-unfolding sex scandal, Archibishop John Nienstedt himself is facing an allegation he inappropriately touched a boy.

SEE ALSO: Archbishop John Nienstedt reportedly under criminal investigation

In a letter released today, Nienstedt announced he's under investigation for allegedly touching a boy's buttocks during a photo shoot  in 2009, but denied there's any merit to the allegation. Nonetheless, he said he'll step aside from public ministry, effective immediately, until there's a resolution.

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