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Archbishop Nienstedt says predecessor assured him sex-abuse complaints were resolved

Catholic World News - August 01, 2014

Having rejected calls for his resignation, Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis has said that he made a mistake in assuming that his predecessor had dealt properly with sex-abuse allegations against archdiocesan priests.

Archbishop Nienstedt told an interviewer that when he arrived in Minnesota, he was assured by his predecessor, Archbishop Harry Flynn, and by the vicar general, Father Kevin McDonough, that sex-abuse problems had been resolved. He said that he accepted their assurances because of their “national reputations for being experts in this area.” (Archbishop Flynn had chaired the US bishops’ committee on sexual abuse.) "But I think that I know now I could have asked more probing questions,” Archbishop Nienstedt said.

The archbishop said that he had made other errors in his judgments on when accusations should be disclosed to the public. But he insisted that he had never deliberately misled the faithful. He said that the archdiocese now has plans and policies in place to deal effectively with abuse complaints.

"I hope people place their trust in us because I think we deserve it,” the archbishop said.

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  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Aug. 02, 2014 1:50 AM ET USA

    Given the cold reception that Archbishop Nienstedt was given when he arrived in St. Paul to take over after Flynn, I am surprised that he trusted any of Flynn's apparatchiks. Everyone knew that Nienstedt was walking into a snake pit.

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