MN--SNAP blasts new archdiocesan PR man

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 20

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,

Archbishop John Nienstedt’s new PR man may be worse than his old one. Tom Halden is choosing to “spin” for both complicit officials AND for predator priests too.   

In an odd move, yesterday Halden released statements to the media for both Nienstedt and for Fr. Gerald Dvorak, the latest Twin Cities archdiocesan cleric to be accused of child sex crimes. Is this a new policy: that credibly accused child molesters get to have their say and spread their denials far and wide using archdiocesan resources donated by parishioners?

Halden also refused to say

--when Nienstedt learned of the allegation

--how Nienstedt learned of the allegation

--which church official allegedly told law enforcement about it

--which law enforcement agency was allegedly told about it

--when church officials allegedly told law enforcement and

--where the abuse allegedly happened.

So much for “openness and transparency.”

It’s possible, therefore, that Nienstedt has known of and concealed this abuse report for years.

Halden apparently believes that the less information church officials release, the less apt they are to be caught lying.

Halden does, however, claim that this “is the only accusation against (Fr. Dvorak) in all of his years in ministry." We’re skeptical.

It’s especially outrageous that Halden and Nienstedt refuse to say which police department they allegedly told of this abuse report. Lacking that, others who might help prove or disprove this allegation don’t know who to call to share what they may know about this case. That’s very self-serving and irresponsible.

Catholic officials should make it easier, not harder, for victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to be helpful. Halden and Nienstedt know this. For their own selfish reasons – protecting their careers, comfort and reputations – Halden and Nienstedt are deliberately making it harder for police and prosecutors to build a case against a credibly accused child molester.

We call on every Catholic employee and parishioner in Minnesota who has suspicions or knowledge of Dvorak’s crimes or church cover ups to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.

(NOTE: Fr. Dvorak worked in Hopkins, St. Paul, and Minneapolis.)

(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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,, Verne Wagner, Northern Minnesota SNAP director (218-340-1277,, Frank Meuers, Twin Cities SNAP director (952-334-5180,  

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