Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Who's Paying for High-Powered Criminal Lawyer Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis Has Hired?

At Commonweal, Grant Gallicho reports that as it investigates allegations that its archbishop, John Nienstedt, has behaved improperly with adult males, the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has retained the services of a high-powered criminal lawyer, Peter Wold. (Note: in case this isn't perfectly clear, Nienstedt heads the archdiocese investigating these allegations.)

According to Gallicho (citing the Minneapolis Star-Tribune), Wold is apparently re-interviewing people who have already given affidavits about Nienstedt's activities, including a (former) priest friend of Nienstedt, Joel Cycenas. Cycenas is disturbed, according to the Star-Tribune report, because he believes the purpose of the new interviews is to discredit his testimony and that of other whistleblowers.

As Gallicho reports and as I mentioned recently, the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has stated that it's so strapped for funds, as it confronts claims of abuse survivors, that it may have to declare bankruptcy. Gallicho asks,

Is the archdiocese's insurance paying Wold's fees? Or is that coming out of the budget the archdiocese just cut by $5 million--for reasons partly related to the sexual misconduct of its priests and the failure to handle them properly?

These are questions that need to be asked. If I were a Catholic in this diocese, I'd be as mad as hell at Nienstedt's pastoral malfeasance and how it has affected the entire diocese. And I'd want assurance that not a penny I've put into a collection plate is going towards paying the archdiocese's new high-powered crfiminal defense attorney.

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