MI--New records released re controversial ex-Detroit bishop

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, [email protected])

Newly released records on an archbishop who rose through Catholic church ranks in Michigan – and worked in a Michigan parish months ago – detail his allegedly “promiscuous” sexual activity “as a priest and bishop in Detroit.”


Archbishop John Nienstedt is a Michigan native who became an auxiliary bishop in the Detroit Archdiocese, before being promoted to head two Minnesota dioceses: New Ulm and St. Paul/Minneapolis. He’s been repeatedly accused of committing sexual misdeeds and concealing sex crimes. He resigned his post overseeing the St. Paul archdiocese.

Now, internal church documents are raising questions again about how he dealt with priests who were proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters.

Everyone knows that quietly moving molesters elsewhere is risky. But it’s also risky to quietly move “enablers.” That’s happening with Archbishop Nienstedt now. Just two weeks ago, he was found at a plush hotel in California’s Napa Valley saying mass at and participating in a conservative Catholic event.


And a few months before that, he was quietly allowed to work in a Michigan parish, until a firestorm of protest drove him out.

The fact that a Catholic bishop who’s accused of both concealing child sex crimes and committing sexual misconduct continues to work in Catholic parishes and institutions is proof positive that very little is changing when it comes to the safety of kids in the church.

No matter what church officials do or don’t do, every single person who saw, suspected or suffered sexual exploitation, abuse or crimes - and cover ups - in Catholic churches or institutions should 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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,[email protected])


New documents reveal former archbishop's 'gay lifestyle'

POSTED:JUL 20 2016 01:22PM CDT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Documents released Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court detail former Archbishop John Nienstedt’s “gay lifestyle” in his early days as a priest and bishop in Detroit. A confidential memo from the Delegate for Safe Environment for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, dated Nov. 22, 2013, raises concerns that Nienstedt’s past behavior may have affected his decisions involving Father Curtis Wehmeyer.

In Dec. 2015, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi filed 6 criminal child endangerment charges against the archdiocese "to hold it criminally accountable for its failure to protect children." The church was accused of . . . 

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