Archdiocese makes additional disclosures as part of clergy file review

| February 17, 2014

As part of a continuing commitment to transparency and ongoing disclosure, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released the names and additional information Feb. 17 of nine priests against whom claims of sexual abuse of a minor were found to be substantiated.

In all but one case, the incidents occurred 25 to 50 years ago and “all of the clergy involved have been out of ministry in the archdiocese for many years, in most cases for decades,” the archdiocese said in a statement Feb. 17. Three of the nine clergy on the list are known to be deceased.

The names of the clergy can be found on a special page titled “Disclosures Regarding Clergy Sexual Abuse of Minors” on the archdiocese’s website, http://www.archspm.org.

Two of the nine cases were made known to the archdiocese after the so-called “John Jay list” was compiled in 2004 to fulfill a request by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, which published a national study of clergy sexual abuse. The Feb. 17 disclosure brings the total cases made known to the archdiocese after 2004 to three, including Curtis Wehmeyer, whose name the archdiocese previously disclosed to the public.

Of the three claims made known to the archdiocese after 2004, the archdiocese said one relates to incidents that occurred in the 1950s but were not made known to the archdiocese until several years after the John Jay list was compiled.

The disclosures were made as part of the ongoing review of clergy personnel files by Kinsale Management Consulting, which was hired by the archdiocese last November to conduct the review. Kinsale is headed by Kathleen McChesney, a former high-level official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and former head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection.

The Kinsale process began in December with files of all living clergy, whether in active ministry or not, the archdiocese said. It also now includes several priests who are deceased.

Several clergy members whose names have been disclosed to the public through press releases or media reports during the last several months are not included as part of the most recent disclosure, the archdiocese said. These clergy remain under investigation and, if the claims made against them are substantiated, their names will be added to the public disclosure page on the website. If the claims against them are unsubstantiated, the archdiocese said it also would make that information known.

The archdiocese’s Feb. 17 disclosure is its second in two and a half months. On Dec. 5, it released the names of Wehmeyer and 33 priests that appeared on the John Jay list of clerics believed to be credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor when the list was compiled by the archdiocese. The names from December also are listed on the disclosure section of the archdiocesan website.

“It is a testament to the comprehensive review by the experienced Kinsale team that we are today disclosing seven cases of the nine that were not originally accounted for in the John Jay study in 2004,” the archdiocese said. “We were able to identify these additional cases because of the review of the files of all living priests, whether active or inactive, and many of the deceased priests.”

The statement added that the archdiocese remains committed to the promises it has made to create safe environments for children, care for victims, facilitate a healing process for the local Church in order to restore trust with the Catholic faithful, and restore trust with clergy who are serving honorably.

“The archbishop’s senior staff is dedicating tremendous time and energy to get to the bottom of the allegations that have surfaced in recent months,” said Father Charles Lachowitzer, archdiocesan vicar general and moderator of the curia. “Kinsale’s professional expertise and meticulous approach to the clergy file review contributes to giving us confidence we are doing just that. The Catholic faithful want to know we are doing everything we can to resolve these matters. I can say truly that we are.”

The archdiocese said it would continue to make “prudent and ongoing” disclosures in the future as needed.

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