Friday, June 5, 2015

Criminal Charges Filed Against Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis in Abuse Cover-Up

As Chris has noted in a comment here today, this noontime the Ramsey County, Minnesota, prosecutor's office announced that it has filed criminal charges against the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. Mitch Smith writes for New York Times:

Prosecutors in Minnesota filed criminal charges on Friday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accusing church leaders of mishandling repeated complaints of sexual abuse by a priest. 
The charges and accompanying civil petition, announced by the Ramsey County prosecutor, John J. Choi, are a sweeping condemnation of the archdiocese and how its leaders have handled sex abuse allegations. 
"Today, we are alleging a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior committed by the highest levels of leadership of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the course of decades," Mr. Choi said in a statement.

Note that the New York Times story has a link to the court document containing the charges. Jennifer Haselberger has also published a copy on her blog. She also notes that the archdiocese has issued a response — of sorts — and she provides a copy of the response.

As Brian Roewe notes for National Catholic Reporter, these criminal charges were, according to Haselberger, what she had both hoped for and feared when she blew the whistle on the archdiocese's cover-up of the case of Rev. Wehmeyer, after which she resigned her position as the chancellor for canonical affairs for the archdiocese.

As a respondent to the NCR report, Amos2014, writes

Pope Francis, are you listening? Please deliver the Roman Catholic faithful of St. Paul from this misery once and for all. "Choi called the archdiocese's monitoring program for abusive priests "a sham," adding, "We were falsely led to believe that the leadership structure of the AD had an effective program in place" for monitoring abusive priests."

To which I say a hearty amen. 

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