NEW ULM (Dec. 17, 2018) – Church leaders must do all we can to prevent the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by those entrusted with ministering to them. Disclosing the names of clergy accused of sexual abuse and barring them from public ministry pending the outcome of a law enforcement investigation are important steps in the protection of young people and in the healing journey of abuse victims and survivors.
That is why I support Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda’s December 14, 2018, letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis calling for the completion of the 2014 investigation into Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, former archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis (2008-2015) that was commissioned by the archdiocese.
I also call for resolution of the investigation into allegations reported and made public in 2016 against Archbishop Nienstedt relating to an alleged incident involving minors in 2005, when he was bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm (2001-2007).
In accordance with diocesan policy, Archbishop Nienstedt is not free to exercise public ministry in the Diocese of New Ulm pending the resolution of past allegations against him.
I want to reinforce the fact that no allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, to my knowledge, has been made against Archbishop Nienstedt since 2016. However, the status of the old allegations must be resolved to ensure the Church is transparent with Catholics and the public and accountable to them about allegations of abuse and inappropriate conduct by clergy.
This is a difficult situation, but it is one that must be addressed directly in order to find the truth and rebuild trust. I remain committed to meeting with victims and survivors as part of their healing process. Please pray for all those harmed by abuse and ask for the Lord’s guidance for the Church as we work toward hope, healing, and peace.