It was interesting reading to see the Minneapolis Tribune and MPR’s coverage of the hearing that took place a week ago Friday concerning additional names to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Archdiocese of Winona lists As the Tribune reported:
The judge rejected an archdiocese proposal to first allow the church 30 days to investigate an abuse claim. The archdiocese is not a neutral party for evaluating whether a claim is true or false, Van de North said, noting that it has failed to report cases of abuse in the past.
Likewise, the archdiocese’s criteria for evaluating sexual misconduct can be “fuzzy,” he said. The archdiocese, for example, said it suspended two priests for “boundary issues” — Rev. Joseph Gallatin of the Church of St. Peter in Mendota and Rev. Mark Wehmann of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Minneapolis.
“One person’s boundary violation is another person’s sexual abuse,” said Van de North.
MPR coverage included:
The hearing also touched on the broader issue of clergy sexual abuse.
Wieser, the archdiocese’s lawyer, argued that child sexual abuse is no more common in the Catholic priesthood than elsewhere. Van de North’s order, he said, could create a precedent to force schools, social service agencies and others to disclose information on people accused of child sexual abuse.
Van de North replied that the archdiocese is unique because, unlike other groups, it has failed for years to report child sexual abuse claims to police. “In some ways, they’ve sort of brought that on themselves by not being forthcoming in the past,” he said.
That the Church earned this questioning is at the very heart of the argument that they need to fully disclose and let someone else decide what should be protected.
The lists that have been disclosed already show the problems:
- As names that clearly should be on more than one list are not.
- Only one list (St Cloud) included a deacons, despite other deacon to be named out there.
- The odd statements from Diocese Bishops about not knowing what to expect, despite coming from Dioceses that had their own undisclosed lists.
- The conflict that exists when Priests who seem to be too close to those who are reviewing the lists. There are those who have gone to school together and served with each other.
- There has not been quick, clear disclosure to the authorities.
It is time that zero tolerance was given teeth and full disclosure was achieved.
The names are now disclosed, however there are more lists that exist in Minnesota and there are many more names to find.
Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.