Catholic religious order appears to have lied to an abuse victim; SNAP urges the group whose findings were misrepresented to denounce the religious order
A news article published last week by the Chicago Sun-Times revealed how the Norbertines, a Catholic religious order, apparently deliberately misled child sex abuse victim Nate Lindstrom about the findings of the outside group that investigated his accusations. We cannot help but wonder how many other times Church officials have used this ploy on survivors, parishioners, and the public to conceal the information and advice they receive? We urge Praesidium to publicly denounce that behavior and to refuse to work with the Norbertines in the future.
Nate Lindstrom, who had accused three Norbertine priests of child sexual abuse, had been receiving monthly support from the order since 2009. In 2018, when a new abbot came on board, Nate received a letter from the Norbertine's attorney, who wrote that Praesidium, the outside group charged with investigating Nate's allegations, had found his accusations "non-credible" and would find Nate a therapist and supervise his treatment for one more year after which the order would no longer pay Nate or help with his therapy and medications. Nate received more than $400,000 from the Norbertines from 2009-2019. He took his own life in March of 2020.
A representative from Praesidium, who said the group had only recently learned about the letter from the Norbertine's attorney, denied the lawyer's claims. The organization acknowledged that it had investigated two of Nate's allegations, but said that, “[O]ur conclusion was NOT that the claims weren’t credible or that there was no basis for the allegations, it was that we were unable to verify them, an important distinction." Praesidium also refuted the claim that it would supervise Nate's treatment for that final year, saying its role was simply to help him secure an appropriate counselor.
For the sake of truth and justice, as well as for its own credibility, we call on Praesidium to harshly and publicly denounce the Norbertines for deceiving Nate and his family, and to further announce that it will NOT work with or for the order in the future. We also urge Praesidium to investigate whether any other Catholic officials have misled victims, parishioners, church staffers, law enforcement, or the public about its work and to do the same thing if it finds any other deceit.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)