For immediate release Thursday December 5, 2013
Statement by Megan Peterson, Twin Cities SNAP leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (218-689-9049 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nienstedt must now force child molesting clerics into remote, secure treatment centers so they’ll be kept away from kids and give every shred of information about them and their crimes to police and prosecutors.
After 25 years of watching Catholic bishops act recklessly, deceitfully and callously in clergy sex cases - in the US and across the globe - we don't stun easily.
But we are stunned that Archbishop Nienstedt claims "It is the practice of the archdiocese to report promptly to law enforcement all allegations of clergy sexual abuse of minors. The recent cases of Fr. Jonathan Shelley and Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer- prove this is a lie.
It's almost as stunning that he claims "Any clergy member facing a credible claim of sexual abuse of minors will be removed from ministry pending an investigation of the claim." The recent case of Fr. Michael Keating proves this is a lie.
It’s shocking that Nienstedt makes these claims with a straight face.
It’s not shocking, however, that Nienstedt makes no mention of law enforcement or of cover up.
That’s because he wants victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to keep contacting church officials, not secular officials. And that’s because he wants the attention focused solely on the predator priests, not their corrupt church supervisors.
Nienstedt conveniently doesn’t mention that the abuse training he brags about doing is required by the church’s belated, grudging, weak and vague national abuse policy. Nienstedt implies this training is something he’s doing voluntarily. That’s just not true.
We should keep in mind that this disclosure of names is also not voluntary. It’s something forced on Nienstedt by legal and public pressure. If not for brave whistleblowers and journalistic investigations and determined victims, Nienstedt would still be hiding these predator priests’ names.
It’s also not true that Catholic official “encourage anyone who suspects abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult within Church ministry to first contact law enforcement.” That may be official church policy. But that’s not how church officials actually behave in clergy sex abuse cases.
According to BishopAccountabilty.org, there are at least 34 proven, admitted, publicly and credibly accused Twin Cities Catholic predator priests. The first case, involving Fr. Thomas Adamson, publicly surfaced 30 years ago.
After all this, and after the horrific disclosures of deceit over the past few months, does anyone really believe Nienstedt when he claims “Our first priority remains creating and maintaining safe environments where the Gospel of Jesus Christ can flourish because we cannot bring others to the light of Christ unless we first live out his love through our witness.”
Finally, this disclosure is incomplete. And it’s now up to current and former Catholic church employees and members to step up. We suspect dozens of priests, secretaries and parish staff know more about these predators – and others – that should be disclosed publicly and reported to law enforcement. Now’s the time for every person who knows anything about clergy sex offenders and enablers to “come clean” – for the safety of kids and for the sake of their own consciences.