Minnesota charges Catholic archdiocese with failure to protect children from abuse


Minneapolis-St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt is under fire, again, for allegations that the archdiocese failed to protect children from abusive priests.

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) -Prosecutors in Minnesota brought criminal charges on Friday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accusing it of failing to protect children in connection with a priest who pleaded guilty in 2012 to sexual abuse.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said prosecutors were alleging “a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior” over the course of decades at the highest level of leadership in the archdiocese.

The six misdemeanor charges and a related civil complaint seek to hold the archdiocese accountable for the victims’ needs for protective services and their delinquency resulting from the conduct, Choi said in a statement.

Choi said the archdiocese failed to respond meaningfully to “numerous and repeated reports” of troubling conduct by priest Curtis Wehmeyer from his entrance into seminary in 1997 until his formal dismissal as a priest in March of this year.

The charges stem from an investigation into the archdiocese’s handling of Wehmeyer starting in March 2014 that included interviews with more than 50 witnesses and the review of 170,000 pages of documents.

According to the New York Times,  Wehmeyer, 50, was sentenced to five years in 2013 for criminal sexual conduct and possession of child pornography. He is in prison in Minnesota, and he has been charged with sex crimes in Wisconsin.

Last summer, Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt apologized for mishandling sex abuse cases but said he would not step aside.
“I have no doubt that my administrative and personal style, with its strong point of view, may have offended some,” he wrote. “I apologize to those I have hurt. The last year has helped me realize I need to change my administrative style, soften my words, and get out from behind the desk to spend more time with the faithful.”

In October, the archdiocese negotiated a landmark settlement with abuse victim lawyer Jeff Anderson that established 17 child protection protocols.

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  • This priest was guilty of molesting two 17 & 18 year old boys. He is now in jail, and if the bishop knew of this, and did nothing, then he should be sent to jail as well. Again, we are talking about a gay priest, who took advantage of two young men, by smoking marijuana with them, and then abusing them once they passed out. This is just another example of the chronic problem with gay priests.

  • We see increasingly how these Catholic bishops are really politicians who hide behind their IRS 503c3 status so they can go about their crass political machinations while evading taxation and scrutiny. These politicians seek to blame LGBT Americans for what they themselves convenienced, in a desperate attempt to demean, demonize and dehumanize LGBT Americans and advance their anti-gay political agenda. Fortunately, our courts are not fooled.

  • Got any EVIDENCE any of that happened the way you claim, Greg1? Got any evidence the priest is gay?

    “Depicting gay men as a threat to children may be the single most potent weapon for stoking public fears about homosexuality — and for winning elections and referenda, as Anita Bryant found out during her successful 1977 campaign to overturn a Dade County, Fla., ordinance barring discrimination against gay people. Discredited psychologist Paul Cameron, the most ubiquitous purveyor of anti-gay junk science, has been a major promoter of this myth. Despite having been debunked repeatedly and very publicly, Cameron’s work is still widely relied upon by anti-gay organizations, although many no longer quote him by name. Others have cited a group called the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) to claim, as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council did in November 2010, that “the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a [molestation] danger to children.”


    “According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

    Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” […

  • Of course, what Greg1 is really telling us is he would LIKE us to believe his anti-gay lies, as he thinks, like the politicians from the Catholic Church, that we will stop supporting LGBT Americans if we were to be fooled by his lies. Josh Duggar was paid to repeat that same lie about LGBT Americans by his former employer, and for the same political purpose.

  • Where did you read that article, Greg1? At the website of an anti-gay Hate Cult? Please ask someone to explain to you the concept of an impeachable source. Since you refused, even when asked, to reveal your source, we will have to assume you know we would only laugh at your source.

    Thank you for demonstrating you know you tried to deceive readers.

  • Seems the archdiocese sure was “tolerant” of an abuser’s antics, years after the USCCB supposedly imposed a “zero tolerance” policy for dealing with abuse. Hmm.

  • Nowhere in that article does it say the priest is gay. That came from your own imagination, Greg1. It even made clear he is not a gay man:

    “He also was convicted of possessing child pornography.”

    I’ve documented the LACK of connection between pedophilia and LGBT Americans.

  • Oops, greg1, I forgot to say thank you for proving you lied before.

    Anti-gays always lie. Americans have all figured that out.

  • Let’s see, a male perpetrator and two adult male victims (18 or so is adult in my book). That equates to homosexual on the perpetrator’s part. Remember 1+1=2.

  • 17 and 18 year old boys would be pretty hard to molest. This case, though a sinful and egregious act by the priest, is not child abuse. It could be a search for money or a cover story for the teens obvious homosexuality. Gays are so troublesome.

  • Greg, I’ve followed the link you provided but the dots don’t prove your point.
    * The priest was found to have child sex pornography on his computer.
    * The priest plied the young person with alcohol and marijuana and indecently assaulted him while he was unconscious.
    * It was not clear whether the young man was 17 or 18 at the time of the indecent assault.
    * He was convicted of both this sexual assault and for possessing child pornography.

    This case does not demonstrate that gays as a group of being a greater threat to children than heterosexual men.

  • How can gays be intolerant of gay shenanigans by some priests? It would seem they would rally round them and build a defense fund for them. Gays don’t even like gays, I guess.

  • It is a tribute to your gross bigotry that you would assume that gay people are not appalled by inappropriate behavior with underaged people.

    How can heterosexuals be intolerant of heterosexual shenanigans by some priests, people named Duggar, and the like? It would seem they would rally round them and build a defense fund for them. Heteroseuxals don’t even like heterosexuals, I guess.

  • Wow. That’s really terrible. Blaming the victims for being abused by bringing false claims against them? That’s disgusting. Abuse is never the victim’s fault. Those boys were told they could trust their abuser, as people are supposed to be able to trust the Church. Is rape the fault of a victim because s/he was wearing a tight shirt? No. That disgusting subhuman monster who abused those poor boys and contributed to the abuse of others is to blame for everything. He is not a martyr. Don’t even suggest he is. You know nothing about abuse.

  • Priests engaging in any sexual activity is inexcusable. Catholics are outraged. But to call 17 and 18 year old boys innocent is really a stretch in this day and age. Duggar was 15……. an age that is miles away in maturity from an 18 year old. All of this is bad behavior, but you can’t lump every case together and call them all the same. The priest is the ultimate idiot, yes, but the fact that he wanted gay sex should not offend the gay world…..for aren’t your lusts equal now to the other 98% of the world?

  • Any philosophy which allows people to falsely imagine
    that they will be forgiven for an infinite number of terrible deeds
    is guaranteed to destroy the believer and ultimately take humanity down with it.

    “Forgive not seven times but seven times seventy” – JESUS

    This wicked philosophy is the source of untold millions of depravities.

  • “17 and 18 year old boys would be pretty hard to molest. ”

    Because heaven knows JR has tried many times. That is the implication of his post. Generally people like himself can talk about the rigors of rape/molestation from personal experience trying to perform it. They certainly don’t bother to talk to its victims. How else would they have any personal knowledge on the subject to speak with such certainty?

    It certainly puts his latter remark in perspective. He would know the reality of the difficulty of molesting late teens from trying it out.

  • I live in St. Paul and have been following the sex abuse scandal from the outset several years ago. I don’t know where the Pioneer Press, the source of Greg1’s link, got the 17 or 18 years old for one of the boys. The Pi-Press is noted for being conservative and pro-Roman Catholic. It is possible the local archdiocese gave them information they kept from the rest of the media. Possible, but highly unlikely. The Star Tribune, the much bigger Minneapolis daily, has not listed any ages. Neither have any of the television stations. I have serious doubts about those ages.

    Even if the age for one of the boys is valid, he is not responsible for being molested. He was given liquor and drugs and was passed out when he was molested. Is someone arguing that was a consensual act? If so, then there is no such thing as rape either. The argument is bogus. The boys were molested, but if it seems more fitting to doubters, call it rape. Either way, it was a sexual attack.

  • But why on earth would they want to be accurate and truthful when there are gay people to attack? This makes no sense!

  • Ben, the point is that only gay priests would be the ones molesting the young men, not the heterosexual priests. And 81% of the pedophile scandal cases in the Catholic Church were man on teenage young men. That is the only point. The reason I harp on this, is because all I have heard, and keep on hearing, is how bad the Catholic Church is with its pedophile problem. And then when I point out that they were gay oriented attacks, then suddenly the fangs come out. The thing is you cannot have it both ways. You can’t talk about allowing gay men in the Boy Scouts, the Priesthood, gym teachers, etc., saying how “normal” these men are, and that deserve to be allowed into those leadership positions, and then bash the Catholic Church, saying, “pedophile, pedophile,” while ignoring that it was gay men doing 81% of the molesting. I myself realize that “it didn’t work.” The worst thing the Church did was allow gay men into the priesthood, thinking they could restrain themselves.

  • sorry carrot cake man if a man is having sex with another male of any age its homosexual sex = even if he doesnt like grown men.

  • @Greg

    Sure you can Greg, if you want to be reality based. But you prefer to blame all gay men for the actions of a relatively few pedophiles, because that’s your agenda.

    in point of fact, if you asked any of these priests, they would have denied being gay, but would have said they were heterosexual but celibate. In other words, it is deeply confused heterosexuals that are the problem, not out gay men.

    You ought to read the John Jay report on the sexual abuse crisis. But you won’t. Just TWO choice bits.

    The John Jay Report found that 22 percent of the cases of abuse in America were with children under the age of ten, 51% were between the ages of 11 and 14, and 15 percent were aged 16 or older. Eighty percent were same-sex abuse. The issue is child abuse, not orientation.

    Here’s the money shot: Dr. Margaret Smith categorically stated to the bishops that “we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse.”

  • @Greg, part 2: You cant get any clearer than that.

    But here’s the rest of the problem:

    Thousands of children in the United States and Europe have been molested by their pastors, who, when their crimes were found out, were shuffled from parish to parish by their bishops who hoped the whole problem would somehow magically disappear without anyone noticing. Benedict was informed, but chose to do nothing.

    You’re just being very selective about whom you wish to blame, and ignoring the part of the problem that doesn’t jibe with your bigotry..

    To reframe your own argument: In your desire to revile and slander gay people, you want to claim a “gay pedophilia crisis”, when all along it’s been a Catholic crisis, even if 100% of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most are post-pubescent, WHICH THEY ARE NOT. While Catholicism does not cause predatory behavior, and most Catholic priests are not molesters, all of the molesters have been Catholic.

    You see how…

  • Ben, boys and girls are being molested in ALL institutions that care for children, only the news media selectively reports exclusively on the Catholic Church, as it would like very much to bring it down. I can guarantee, as I have seen and read the details of how widespread this issue truly is, that the issue is EVERYWHERE. The thing about children, is they are easy to control, adults are not. That is what lures oversexed individuals to teenage and younger persons. The sex chosen is merely the preference of the abuser. If male on female, then he is a heterosexual abuser, if male on male, then the abuser is gay. As for the Catholic Church, to me the best approach to the priesthood is weeding out the potential from the outset. And 81% gay abuse is the first level of the selection process; I would then proceed from there to the next weeder, and so forth.

  • As I have told you before, but you would prefer to ignore, that isn’t going to solve the problem. Not now. Not ever.

    As I have told you before, for decades the Boy Scouts of had a problem just like the Roman Catholic Church, which just like the RCC, they have attempted to blame on gay men, and which they have covered up.

    For decades, the Boy Scouts of had an abuse problem. For decades, they have banned gay men and gay scouts. For decades, they have preferred that all scoutmasters be certifiably heterosexual, hopefully married and with children. For decades they have had the problem of allegedly heterosexual man molesting boys.

    The problem is far more complex than you prefer to believe. it is not now, and never has been, a problem of gay versus straight. Jerry Sandusky is the perfect example: a heterosexual pillar of his community, except for that thing about abusing underage boys.

    But then, sexuality is far more complex than the conservative Christian explanation…

  • Greg1 is a sneaky dodger. He can’t actually back up any of the claims he makes, as the comments above clearly show.

    Greg1, your arguments for your sky fairy beliefs and your supposed morals are utter failures. I’m bringing up here again one more point that you are so far utterly unable to respond to, and that you keep dodging. Here it is again, to bring you back to what you keep avoiding:

    Christian god is apparently quite the brutal, unfair, hateful monster, according to the bible. This is so, because, among other reasons, he repeatedly has caused many people, including innocent children, to be killed as “punishment” for the actions of others.

    Your hideous monster, your “god”, should be incarcerated if it existed. Your god of your bible does not exist.