The early reports out of Minneapolis-St. Paul regarding the accusation against Archbishop John Nienstedt and his stepping aside carry two items we call to our readers’ attention.
From the official statement of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis:
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced that an allegation has been brought by a mandated reporter within the Church to the St. Paul Police of inappropriate touching of a minor male on the buttocks by Archbishop John Nienstedt. The single incident is alleged to have occurred in 2009 during a group photography session with the archbishop following a confirmation ceremony. Archbishop Nienstedt emphatically denies the allegation. Upon learning of the allegation last week, the archdiocese instructed the mandated reporter to make the matter known to the police. The archbishop and the archdiocese stand ready to cooperate fully with the St. Paul Police.
You read correctly --- the “Archdiocese instructed the mandated reporter to make the matter known to police.”
This will be praised in many circles.
But it is clearly an indication that the understanding of what a mandatory reporter is is not understood. The mandatory reporter reported to the archdiocese and then to the police.
From the story in the Pioneer Press, here’s the link to the full story: http://www.twincities.com/crime/ci_24740703/archbishop-nienstedt-accused-will-step-aside --- carries a window into how statements have gotten passed off as action throughout the unfolding of the sexual abuse crisis.
The headline reads: St. Paul police say archdiocese not cooperating: Archbishop accused of inappropriately touching boy.
The Archdiocese’s statement says the “The Archbishop and the Archdiocese stand ready to cooperate fully with the St. Paul police.”
The link to the Pioneer Press story will also provide a link to the full text of the Archdiocese’s statement.
The matter is being investigated by the police and that’s where it should be.
Regardless of where and how the investigation of the accusation ends, the issues of mandatory reporters and the institution of the Church and what the Church in its official pronouncements means by cooperation are issues crying out for further investigation – and action.
_ Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC), KristineWard@hotmail.com, 937-272-0308