Lowering the Bar in Minnesota

First, the news out of Minneapolis hurts survivors.  We want them to know their pain is known and acknowledged.

The Archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Archdiocesan officials have been let off the hook and will not be charged with any responsibility for not stopping  a priest  now convicted and serving a prison sentence on sexual abuse charges.

The Archdiocese is “grateful”  to be “cleared.”

The Archdiocese’s records show that the Archdiocese had knowledge going back to 2008 regarding the sexual addiction and solicitation activities of this priest — and the Archdiocese gave him 28 hours of potential running and destruction of evidence time in a coming arrest alert regarding the charges for which he is now serving time.

Still, the police said they do not have the evidence to charge anyone in the Archdiocese of obstruction of justice or any complicity in the crimes.

Here are news stories with the details that there will not be charges along with the official statement of the Archdiocese:




The police are “troubled” about the Archdiocesan officials and their actions or inaction.

So are we, but we don’t have subpoena power, calling grand jury power or issuing search warrant power like the police and county attorney and courts do.

Is there no law in Minnesota  under which people who know that a person has and likely will continue to abuse children and minors can be held responsible for aiding this person — by the advance notice on an arrest? By promoting the person to pastor in 2009 and giving him a position of authority and respect
when the records show that trouble existed and was known in 2008?


Could Minnesota’s laws be this thin?

Child pornography charges will not be brought against anyone in the Archdiocese in the case of another priest  involving sexually explicit images found on the priest’s computer.

There is not enough evidence, the authorities said, to bring charges against anyone in Archdiocesan positions.

Is there any willingness to put muscle into the investigations of officials who were publicly accused by the police chief of dragging their collective feet in reporting abuse and providing information to the police? Aren’t there usually reasons for foot dragging that basically don’t include coming clean with the facts and responsibility?

Surely, this is not the standard of the people of the communities of Minnesota.

The statement of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul says this:

We have a shared interest with all civil authorities and our communities for the protection of
children, and we remain in complete solidarity with both Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Saint Paul Police Department Chief Tom Smith in calling for all victims of any form of abuse to immediately come forward to civil authorities.

Victims of any form of abuse should come forward. Indeed, they should be encouraged to do that and supported when they do.  But, given the lack of charges against the Archdiocese, what are the odds any victim of sexual abuse would come forward now?

These public proclamations now calling for victims to come forward smack of the beguiling witch opening the door for Hansel and Gretal.

The message that is being sent is clear: cover-up, foot drag, and protect predators, obfuscate in any and all manners possible, when caught, spin apologetic, and continue to cover-up, foot drag and obfuscate, shell-game-it to get over the fine points in the law to skirt responsibility – never allow the standard to be used to judge you to be the same  depth of standard that you purport preach, teach, and uphold.

Notice the Archdiocese’s statement did not say that despite the absence of charges that it must and would declare itself and its officials complicit. That it must and would declare its overwhelming failure beginning with the resignation of the Archbishop because any institution that stood and defined itself as a force for truth and justice, valued and taught the protection of the innocent and the vulnerable, could do no less.

Are there any law enforcement officials in Minnesota willing to look at the laws again?

Are there any legislators in Minnesota willing to muscle up the laws if they really are this thin?

Or will the bar remain lowered so far that it is confused with the dirt it lies in?

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com


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