New documents show church leaders debated legality of priest's porn

Archbishop John Nienstedt was in the middle of a heated political fight over same-sex marriage in February of last year when he learned of a disturbing secret, hidden in the basement of the chancery — pornography from a priest's computer, some of which appeared to depict children.

Canon lawyer Jennifer Haselberger had uncovered several computer discs and a white three-ring binder kept in the basement archives of the chancery building — the headquarters of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It was evidence from a 2004 internal investigation of sexually explicit images found on the computer of the Rev. Jonathan Shelley, then pastor of St. Jude of the Lake church in Mahtomedi, Minn.

Haselberger, a firebrand top official who joined the archdiocese in 2008, notified Nienstedt....

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