MN - What to look for today from Archbishop Nienstedt

For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 24

 Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, [email protected])

                Here’s what we think you can expect from Archbishop John Nienstedt’s column today when he writes about the continuing crisis in his archdiocese stemming from repeated clergy child sex crimes and cover ups of those crimes.

Look for lots of spin, hair-splitting and word-parsing.

Look for Nienstedt to imply that he and his staff made “mistakes,” instead of admitting that he and his staff deliberately and repeatedly took self-serving, deceitful and secretive actions.

Look for lots of sweeping promises designed to mollify his outraged flock, promises that will be broken once the heat of intense scrutiny fades, like his earlier promises have been.

Look for Nienstedt to use the word “allegations” to describe what are really “revelations.” He and his public relations team are trying to ‘spin’ actual church documents as “accusations” when, in fact, they are “disclosures.” (Lawsuits are “allegations.” Actual archdiocesan memos are not.)

Look for Nienstedt to subtly distance himself from predator priests, instead of admitting that most are still on his payroll yet are monitored and supervised

Look for no disclosures today. That’s significant – and tragic – because secrecy is what largely is causing this mess. But today, and in the future, Nienstedt and his staff will continue to practice secrecy, because their reputations and clerical careers matter most to them and if their secrets are revealed, their reputations and clerical careers may suffer.

So Nienstedt won’t tell anyone today

     --the name of previously undisclosed child molesting clerics.

     --the whereabouts of those child molesting clerics,

--the names of current or former Catholic employees who helped or ignored those abusive clerics.

     This kind of information could, of course, be helpful. It might prevent one more boy or girl from being molested. It could perhaps help law enforcement investigate, charge, and convict another criminal. It might deter others – inside and outside the church – from ignoring or enabling child sex crimes in the future.

     But you won’t see it today. Instead you’ll see carefully-crafted self-serving spin.

     He won’t even name the members of his abuse review panel, the one that found the child sex abuse report against Fr. Michael Keating “unsubstantiated,” even though the victim herself testified, with her parents, in person and via video, and took question after question after question from church staff (including an archbishop) and after she provided sexually suggestive emails from Fr. Keating.

    And look for meaningless words that protect no one, clarify nothing and prevent nothing, words like "I accept responsibility for addressing the issues that have been raised and am completely committed to finding the truth and fixing the problems that exist," (He wrote this yesterday to MPR.) And "My highest priorities are to ensure the safety of our children and to restore the trust of Catholics and our clergy. I will do everything in my power to do so." Seriously?

     Then why are he and his top aides fighting to keep hidden the names of other credibly accused child molesting clerics?

     Then why did he and his top aides sit on evidence of possible child sex crimes by Fr. Jon Shelley for years?

     Then why did he and his top aides repeatedly ignore warning signs of abusive and sexually troubled behavior by Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer for years?

     Then why did he and his top aides privately admit that Fr. Rudolph Henrich was a child molester but tell no one else about him?

     Then why are he and his top aides letting a proven predator priest, Fr. Robert Kapoun, live unsupervised in the very home where he molested kids?

     Then why are he and his top aides not insisting that other suspended and accused pedophile priests live in remote, secure treatment centers?

     Then why did he and his top aides do nothing to reach out to others who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes by Fr. Mark Huberty?

     Then why are he and his top aides pretending there are “flaws” in their “procedures” instead of admitting that they repeated violated common sense, common decency – and sometimes violated national and local church policies and secular laws – by concealing known and possible predators’ names and crimes from police, parents, parishioners and the public?

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Bob Schwiderski (952 471 3422, [email protected])

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