MN- Archbishop under investigation, SNAP responds

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, [email protected])

Some report that Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt is being investigated for sexual relationships.

We don't care about Nienstedt's private behavior, unless it involves sexually harassing underlings or makes him unable or unwilling to expose predators in his archdiocese. 

We care deeply about Nienstedt's public behavior, especially his continuing secrecy, recklessness and callousness about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. We are perhaps most upset that he refuses to order his long-time top aide Fr. Kevin McDonough to be questioned by police.

We believe that most priests don't or can't honor their celibacy pledge. So they have sexual secrets. And if you have a sexual secret, you're less willing to report the sexual secrets of your colleagues and supervisors, especially if those secrets involve criminal behavior.

This is perhaps the most disturbing sentence we've read about this investigation: “he also stands accused of retaliating against those who refused his advances or otherwise questioned his conduct.”

We are highly skeptical when bishops like Nienstedt claim that allegations against them are “personal attacks” due to “my unwavering stance on issues consistent with church teaching, such as opposition to so-called same-sex marriage.” This is especially unlikely if there are in fact ten accusers including some who were or are Catholic clerics. 

Finally, these investigators are hired by Catholic officials. So it seems very unlikely they are somehow unfairly targeting an archbishop.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Frank Meuers of Plymouth (952-334-5180,[email protected])

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