CA--Victims want Santa Rosa bishop to oust his disgraced colleague
For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016
In an act of stunning recklessness and callousness, Santa Rosa’s top Catholic official is letting a disgraced bishop minister in the Napa Valley despite his reportedly committing sexual misdeeds and concealing child sex crimes.
Bishop Robert Vasa says he has “no concerns” about Archbishop John Nienstedt, who left Minnesota after he resigned and left Michigan after more parishioner outrage there.
The reason for the controversy surrounding Nienstedt is simple: he’s accused of sexually approaching or violating at least nine priests and seminarians and retaliating against some of them when his advances were rebuffed. And he’s also accused of endangering kids and deceiving parents about proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics.
And he’s accused of interfering with a church investigation into clergy sexual misconduct.
According to the Press-Democrat, “Nienstedt’s resignation in June of 2015 as the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis came 10 days after prosecutors there filed criminal charges against the archdiocese that he ran since 2008, alleging “its failure to protect children.”
More recently, a Minnesota canon lawyer, whistleblower and former top archdiocesan official notes another allegation of wrongdoing by Nienstedt: http://canonicalconsultation.com/blog.html
Vasa should reverse himself and oust Nienstedt from his post at the Napa Institute (created by Orange County attorney and Meritage Resort & Spa owner Tim Busch). Vasa should also publicly explain why he knowingly put vulnerable young adult parishioners in harm’s way by bringing Nienstedt into the diocese.
For the safety of the parishioners and the public, Nienstedt should not ever be put back into ministry. Doing so would be a risky, callous move that would reward and encourage more recklessness and deceit.
We hope every single person with information or suspicions about Nienstedt or other church officials will find the strength to call police, expose wrongdoers and protect others.
And no matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect innocent kids and vulnerable adults by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.