Tuesday, June 16, 2015

And What of the Investigation into Archbishop Nienstedt's Alleged "Sexual Improprieties"?

Even though it raises more questions than answers, I was nevertheless interested in reading the following from Jean Hopfensperger and Chao Xiong's Star Tribune piece today on yesterday's resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt . . .

Last year, Nienstedt himself was accused of sexual improprieties with priests and seminarians before he had become archbishop. The archdiocese hired the Greene Espel law firm to investigate. Its report was completed last August, but never made public.

Sources familiar with the investigation told the Star Tribune Monday that Nienstedt’s administration halted Greene Espel’s work last year while investigators were still pursuing leads. The Star Tribune learned that three priests and a seminarian were among the people who gave Greene Espel signed affidavits about Nienstedt’s behavior — statements that would have been included in any report to the archdiocese.

Nienstedt has denied all allegations of personal sexual impropriety. He said at the time that the allegations were “a personal attack against me due to my unwavering stance on issues consistent with church teaching, such as opposition to so-called same-sex marriage.”

The archdiocese late Monday declined to comment on the Green Espel investigation.

– Jean Hopfensperger and Chao Xiong
Excerpted from Twin Cities Archbishop Resigns
After Charges of Abuse Coverup
Star Tribune
June 16, 2015


Investigators Explore Personal Ties
Between Nienstedt and Defrocked Priest

– Jean Hopfensperger
Star Tribune
June 17, 2015

An Isolated Nienstedt Tried to Limit
Investigation Into Himself

– Madeleine Baran
Minnesota Public Radio News
June 19, 2015

Fall from Grace: Why Nienstedt Had So
Little Support Among Twin Cities Catholics

– Tim Gihring
June 16, 2015

In His First Remarks Since Resigning,
Nienstedt Denies Allegations in Affidavits

– Jean Hopfensperger, Tony Kennedy and Paul McEnroe
Star Tribune
July 19, 2015

Ex-Twin Cities Archbishop Nienstedt
Takes Michigan Church Post

– Peter Cox
MPR News
January 13, 2016

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Has Archbishop Nienstedt's "Shadow" Finally Caught Up With Him?
CCCR Responds to Archbishop Nienstedt's Resignation
Progressive Perspectives on Archbishop Nienstedt's Anti-Gay Activism
LGBTQ+ Catholic Youth Summit to Proceed Despite Chancery's Misstep
Thoughts on Archbishop Nienstedt
Gay Men in the Vatican Are Giving the Rest of Us a Bad Name

Related Off-site Link:
A Timeline of Former Archbishop John Neinstedt’s Anti-LGBT Activism – Andy Birkey (TheColu.mn, June 16, 2015).


Julie Balamut said...

My take: Neinstedt turned the investigation to Lee Piché (Fox and the henhouse?). Piché investigated and discovered that the allegations could be substantiated. Even though the law firm and Piché had a report implicating Neinstaedt, Neinstedt probably prevented its release to the public. When Choi filed charges and Neinstedt learned that he wasn't going to get support from his fellow bishops, he realized that his career was probably over. Talked to Piché and they resigned together. Problem solved. Now as he and Piché are no longer employees of the archdiocese, the report doesn't have to be released: Piché because he now longer works here, and Neinstedt is home free because the allegations involved consenting men, not teenagers or children. As to those men who alleged the bad behavior on Neinstedt's part, as long as he didn't sexually assault them, it probably doesn't make it a crime where the investigation and the results would be made public.

There have been many rumors about Neinstedt and the culture of closeted homosexuality in the archdiocese. My wish moving on from this mess is that Neinstedt comes to terms with his sexuality. If indeed he is gay, I'm convinced that the Twin Cities gay community will help and support him in his struggle of identity. I know that this community is very supportive and will welcome him with open arms in his struggle. On the possibility that he broke the law and it is determined that he will face criminal charges, I say leave that up to John Choi, Mike Freeman, and James Backstrom. They are good DAs and will bring charges based on the evidence they discover.

M.H. said...

I feel such mixed emotions as new information is made public regarding Archbishop Nienstedt. Mostly, I am glad that the truth comes out one way or another. I am relieved that changes we knew had to happen are finally starting to unfold. I also feel sorrow for the harm that has come to the church in the Twin Cities, and deep regret for the people whose lives have been shattered by abuse, and by repeated coverups. And I feel concern for Archbishop Nienstedt himself. His public troubles are just beginning; he has a long road ahead of him and few friends. I am not saying he didn't bring this on himself, nor am I painting him as a victim. I am just saying that glad as I am that he has resigned, I am also holding him in my prayers.