Friday, May 6, 2016

Cousin of John Nienstedt Reports That He Told Nienstedt of Abuse by Nienstedt's Priest-Friend, and Nienstedt Did Nothing: The Unholy Trinity of Lies, Secrets, and Silence

The story told in the video above is one to which a valued reader of this blog alerted me yesterday. The report is from KMSP (Fox News) in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. As you'll see when you watch the video, a reporter from this news outlet, Tom Lyden, interviews a cousin of deposed Twin Cities archbishop John Nienstedt — Mike Hinske — who maintains that a priest-friend of Nienstedt's, Samuel Ritchey, sexually abused him when he was 16 years old. Lyden also interviews an unwilling Nienstedt.

According to Hinske, Ritchey told him at the time that he had other "special friends," who were, it was clear to Hinske, also minors. Ritchey went on to teach at Catholic schools in the diocese of Columbus, Ohio, where he was eventually removed from the priesthood due to his abuse of teenaged boys.

As you'll also learn when you watch the video, Mike Hinske reports that he told his mother, a former Dominican nun who was Nienstedt's cousin (and who is now dead), and his sister Mary Beth that Ritchey had molested him, and they informed Nienstedt of what had happened to Hinske. Nienstedt did nothing — and now claims that it was not clear to him that Hinske was actually molested, or that Hinske wanted him to do something.

As Hinske points out, how could Nienstedt have known what he wanted to have done in response to the molestation, when Nienstedt — who had his stellar church-climbing career to think about — never even spoke to him about this? Hinske's sister Mary Beth also flatly contradicts Nienstedt's claim not to have been told in blunt terms that her brother was sexually molested by Samuel Ritchey.

As I told the Bilgrimage reader who sent me a link to this video, I'm strongly inclined to hear this story in association with the story I told you yesterday about allegations that the Vatican's "expert on homosexuality," Monsignor Tony Anatrella, sexually abused a minor (and perhaps more than one) sent to him to be "cured" of homosexuality, and also in association with the recently revealed allegations that Joseph Paterno was told of Jerry Sandusky's abuse of minors as early as 1976 — and did nothing in response.

Nothing except to cover up, that is to say . . . .

These three stories all strike me as revelatory glimpses into the way in which powerful circles dominated by powerful men, like the Catholic hierarchy and the world of professional sports, keep secrets inside their male-dominated circles. As I said yesterday, lesbian poet-essayist Adrienne Rich speaks of the unholy trinity formed by lies, secrets, and silence.

Powerful, closed circles dominated by powerful men who resist the intrusion of others into their closed circles have long seemed to me circles which worship that unholy trinity: lies. Secrets. Silence. All used to keep others at bay, scapegoat targeted others, and protect abusive insiders.

It's time for that trinity to stop being worshipped, it seems to me. The bloody sacrifices it demands have piled up to an ungodly degree — and were already too much when the first bloody corpse of a sexually abused minor started the pile.

(At her blog site, Jennifer Haselberger has posted a redacted copy of a letter Nienstedt sent to Mike Hinske nine years ago, and Michael Sean Winters posted a link to the Fox News story in his links column yesterday.)

No comments: