SD- Sioux Falls bishop must act; his predecessor is under fire

For immediate release: Thursday, June 12, 2014

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

In a deposition released Monday that's attracting national attention (The Washington Post, NBC News, the Religion News Service, and elsewhere), former Sioux Falls bishop Robert Carlson claimed 193 times that he "couldn't recall" information about predator priests. He also made two other startling claims;

1) that he never called the police about known or suspected clergy sex crimes at any point in his 24 years as a priest, bishop and other top church official in Minnesota. 

2) that he wasn't sure whether he knew it was illegal for priests to have sex with children when he worked as chancellor of the Twin Cities archdiocese in the 1980s. 

And another Catholic bishop testified under oath – in a different deposition – that Carlson advised him to claim memory loss if he were deposed in clergy sex abuse cases. 

Clearly, he's being deceptive. And he continues to be deceptive in clergy sex cases here in St. Louis. 

Given this, we can't help but suspect he also concealed clergy crimes during his years in Sioux Falls (1995 - 2005). According to, there are 24 publicly exposed predator priests, nuns, brothers and seminarians in the Sioux Falls diocese.

So we call on current Sioux Falls Bishop Paul Swain to do what Carlson never did - take a firm stand to protect children and expose wrongdoing. He must post on his website the names, photos and whereabouts of all predator priests (proven, admitted and credibly accused). He needs to personally visit the parishes where they worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police. And he should publicly denounce his predecessor for being deceitful.

And we urge every current and former Sioux Falls Catholic church member and church employee to report suspected or known child sex crimes to law enforcement and ask their friends and family if any of them were hurt by any child molesting cleric. 

(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 18,000 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, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])


Showing 1 comment

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant