Disgraced Archbishop Lives Near Schools in Detroit
A Michigan pastor claims that a suspended cleric with multiple allegations of abuse is not a “potential threat” to the community. We disagree and believe that, for the safety of area children, parishioners should be informed about his presence, especially given his close proximity to neighborhood schools.
Archbishop John Nienstedt, a Michigan native who rose to become the head of the St. Paul Archdiocese, now lives near Port Huron. After this was disclosed – by the news media, not by Church officials - Fr. Lee Acervo of St. Edward on the Lake parish wrote his flock that it "is patently untrue" that Archbishop John Nienstedt could be a "potential threat" to their community.
Fr. Acervo is right about one thing: the allegations against Archbishop Nienstedt have not been proven in a court of law. Yet they were serious enough that he was forced to resign as head of his Archdiocese. There is also ample evidence that the Archbishop previously ignored, minimized and concealed the sexual crimes and misdeeds of his priests in Minnesota.
Consider this from the Metro Times:
“Nienstedt was named by Bishop Accountability as one of the five Catholic bishops around the world who most deserve to be defrocked next, as was Theodore McCarrick last year. Nienstedt, who's from Detroit and had a controversial tenure as rector of the seminary here in the 1990s, is the target of a laundry list of accusations, including undressing in front of teenagers at a global youth conference. Nienstedt has been hounded by numerous unresolved accusations of personal misconduct and prosecuted for mishandling clergy abuse cases while running the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minnesota. He resigned in 2015 — and the church there reached a settlement with prosecutors that was soon followed by the archdiocese declaring bankruptcy.
Nienstedt has since been chased out of Battle Creek by angry parishioners after helping a priest friend in his church there — and he was also forced to leave a California think tank. Last October, Archbishop Allen Vigneron issued a little-noticed statement saying that Nienstedt had moved back to his home in the Detroit area and had agreed not to practice ministry here. In December, the new archbishop in the Twin Cities slapped him with the same restriction there — yet Nienstedt is still a bishop emeritus. . .”
Given all this information, we hope Michigan Catholics will demand more honesty from their Church officials and we hope the Michigan public will keep themselves and their children away from Archbishop Nienstedt.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
(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)