Archbishop John Nienstedt under investigation for new sexual misconduct claims

Categories: Religion
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Still taken from deposition
The latest allegations of clerical sexual misconduct go all the way to the top of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, falling on the head of Archbishop John Nienstedt.

News broke Tuesday when former top canon lawyer Jennifer Haselberger was quoted in Commonweal, a Catholic lay magazine, saying that she had been questioned by investigators with the Minneapolis firm Greene Espel. It left her with the impression that there "about ten sworn statements alleging sexual impropriety" against the archbishop, spanning his years spent in Detroit, New Ulm, and St. Paul, and involving seminarians, priests, and other men.

See also:
Archbishop John Nienstedt withheld info on sexually abusive priests



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Kevin McDonough, former vicar general, compelled again to testify about sex abuses cases

Categories: Crime, Religion
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YouTube screen grab
On Wednesday, a Ramsey County judge ordered Kevin McDonough, a former vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, to undergo another 150 minutes of sworn testimony related his handling of sex abuse cases.

McDonough is the closest thing the church has had to a detective, and for many years he sat at the center of church internal affairs. His testimony is being taken as part of a lawsuit against the archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, claiming that together these institutions posed a threat to the entire Twin Cities region by protecting priests like Thomas Adamson, an admitted child abuser.

See also: Kevin McDonough, former vicar general, refused to cooperate with police investigations

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Former priest Jerome Kern says fondling was confused for "Italian wrestling"

Categories: Crime, Religion
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Deposition footage of Jerome Kern
In the summer of 1969, word spread back to Father Jerome Kern that the parents of two boys who attended the Church of St. Mark in St. Paul were upset with him. The parishioners claimed that Kern had been rough-housing during a trip to Lake Nokomis Beach and slid his hand repeatedly into their kids' cut-off jeans.

The priest's response would later be described by church officials as "brazen," even downright "insensitive." Kern told the parents that he had merely engaged in a little game he picked overseas known as "Italian wrestling." The rules were simple and sound like something straight out of Satyricon: each man jostles while attempting to grasp at the other's genitals.

See also:
Thomas Adamson coldly confesses to sexually abusing children as a priest


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Thomas Adamson coldly confesses to sexually abusing children as a priest [VIDEO]

Categories: Crime, Religion
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Jeff Anderson & Associates / Flickr
Father Thomas Adamson and the Cathedral of St. Paul circa 1964
It's been one hell of a week for Catholic dioceses in Minnesota. First Robert Carlson, a former Twin Cities bishop, claimed he didn't know that child sex was a crime. Then a St. Cloud family came forward accusing Father Timothy "Timo" Backous of having molested their son in 1990.

Now comes Thomas Adamson, a former priest who confessed under oath to having sexually abused children decades ago. Below are some of the video highlights of a May 16 deposition taken by attorney Jeff Anderson and his soldiers.

See also:
New release reveals alleged pedo-priest was moved around the state



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Letter to Catholic Church officials calls for Timothy Backous' removal from ministry [UPDATED]

Categories: Crime, Religion
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Artwork by Martin Ontiveros for our March 19 cover story







-- Updated with a statement from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis --

In March, two top Catholic Church officials in Minnesota sat down with the editorial board of the St. Cloud Times to discuss the ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal. Bishop Donald Kettler of the St. Cloud Diocese and Abbot John Klassen of St. John's Abbey both agreed -- there were no priests left in ministry with creditable accusations against them.

Chris and Kathy McDermid, both retired school teachers who live in St. Cloud, were incredulous when they heard the news and incensed when they later found out that Father Timothy Backous had presided over a Memorial Day weekend Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary.

See also:
Francis Hoefgen: Portrait of an abusive priest


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Bishop in charge of Twin Cities abuse investigations: I didn't know child sex was crime [VIDEO]

Categories: Religion
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Robert Carlson
Before he became archbishop in St. Louis, Robert Carlson was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis during the 1980s.

One of his jobs in that role was to handle sex abuse allegations made against Twin Cities priests. So it strains credulity to hear him say during a recent deposition that he didn't know having sex with children was a crime back then.

See also:
Archbishop John Nienstedt withheld info on sexually abusive priests [VIDEO]


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Francis Hoefgen, former priest, charged with criminal sexual conduct in Dakota County

Categories: Crime, Religion
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Francis Hoefgen and the old St. Boniface in Hastings that merged with Guardian Angels to become St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Authorities in Dakota County have charged Francis Hoefgen, a 63-year-old former Benedictine priest who served the Twin Cities region, with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree.

At a press conference later today, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom and Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer are expected to shed more light on the charges.

See also: Francis Hoefgen: Portrait of an abusive priest

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Jeff Anderson sues St. John's Abbey, releases files of five accused monks

Categories: Crime, Religion
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From left, attorney Mike Bryant, Lloyd Van Vleet, attorney Jeff Anderson, and priest-turned-whistleblower Patrick Wall
Father Richard Eckroth sexually abused two boys at a northern Minnesota cabin in the 1970s, according to a lawsuit filed Monday against St. John's Abbey.

At a press conference, crusading attorney Jeff Anderson pointed the finger squarely at the abbey for giving Eckroth unlimited access to children as young as eight on weekend trips and for failing to tell families about the danger.

See also:
Kevin McDonough, former vicar general, refused to cooperate with police investigations



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Kevin McDonough, former vicar general, refused to cooperate with police investigations [VIDEO]

Categories: Crime, Religion
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YouTube screen grab
In video testimony released Thursday by Jeff Anderson's law firm, the former vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis admitted that he made a habit of penning official memos with an eye towards possible litigation, and when approached last year by St. Paul police refused to cooperate.

As the lone referee of priestly sex crimes for two decades -- a tenure that spanned three archbishops -- Kevin McDonough now expresses regret for a culture that believed sick men could be rehabilitated back into ministry. He shifted responsibility to his bosses and accused victims' attorney Jeff Anderson and the media of exaggerating the problem of clerical abuse.

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


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Archbishop John Nienstedt withheld info on sexually abusive priests [VIDEO]

Categories: Crime, Religion
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YouTube screen grab
The law firm that is aggressively suing the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released on Tuesday the four-hour deposition of head holy man John Nienstedt. The archbishop admitted under oath that he has withheld information about sexually abusive priests, putting the blame on one of his underlings.

"The methods they have employed in the past are being employed in the present," attorney Jeff Anderson told reporters in his office. "We're alarmed. We're sad. And we're scared, the more we learn, the more we see."

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



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