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Archbishop Carlson says he did not know sexual abuse was a crime

June 10, 2014

Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, Missouri, has testified under oath that in the 1980s, while serving as an auxiliary bishop in Minnesota, he was unaware that molesting children was a crime.

"I'm not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not," the archbishop stated in a deposition taken last month, which was made public on June 9. He did state that he was now aware that the sexual abuse of children is a crime.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that although Archbishop Carlson claimed to be unaware of the criminal nature of sexual abuse, he wrote a memorandum in 1984 in which he discussed the statute of limitations for lawsuits involving abuse claims, and mentioned that the parents of one abuse victim might complain to the police.

During the course of the deposition, Archbishop Carlson testified 193 times that he could not properly recall the answer to a question.


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  • Posted by: koinonia - Jun. 11, 2014 3:02 PM ET USA

    The American Conservative has an excerpt of video posted and accompanying article. Clearly he is being careful in his testimony for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, the video is compelling, particularly after the attorney attempts to clarify the question and the archbishop continues along the same line. Again, law officials have spoken in the past at their disappointment in church officials as cases unfolded. This could not have left a positive impression on anyone in the room. Sadly.

  • Posted by: nix898049 - Jun. 10, 2014 5:27 PM ET USA

    Would this be a 'smoking memorandum'?

  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 10, 2014 4:11 PM ET USA

    It staggers the mind to think that someone wouldn't know such a thing!