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Amid scandal, archdiocese under pressure to release priest lists

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The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is increasingly under pressure to disclose lists of its clergy who are alleged sex offenders, lists that have been under wraps since 2004, the Star Tribune reports.

Six court hearings related to the lists ­involving every diocese in ­Minnesota are scheduled for this fall, the newspaper reports. There was a hearing Wednesday in Crookston, and hearings in New Ulm, Duluth and Winona will be next, the newspaper reports.

Perhaps dozens of clergy are on the lists, the Star Tribune reports. “Every single bishop in Minnesota has kept that list secret,” Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul lawyer for victims, told the newspaper.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has suffered a spate of bad publicity in the last few weeks, as it is the target of investigations by Minnesota Public Radio into the way church leaders handled the sexual misconduct cases of former priests.

In one case, the archdiocese knew it had a sexual predator in Curtis Wehmeyer, but it kept him in the ministry, MPR reported. In another case, an abusive priest was given a generous retirement deal, and he now lives in relative luxury.

Police have also reopened an investigation into whether the archdiocese covered up its own evidence that another priest had child pornography.

The members of a six-member task force that will probe allegations of sexual misconduct by priests – and the archdiocese's handling of them – were named this week. The group includes a psychologist, lawyers, and a former police officer.

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