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Archdiocese official will control task force's access to clergy files

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A task force looking at how the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has handled allegations of clergy sexual misconduct will have limited access to church files, according to various news reports.

The archdiocese official who appointed the task force, Rev. Reginald Whitt, told priests in a letter last week he will control the group's access to church files on clergy members, MPR says.

The network reports the letter attempts to alleviate privacy concerns of priests and seems to contradict Archbishop John Nienstedt's assertion last week that "The Task Force will have unprecedented authority to examine any and all issues associated with clergy sexual abuse."

As WCCO reports, the archdiocese responded to questions Monday with a statement noting that the task force's findings are expected to focus on policies and procedures, not on individual clergy files.

The files reportedly include lists of alleged sex offenders within the clergy. They are the subject of pending lawsuits in every Minnesota diocese.

Nienstedt announced last week that a newly hired law firm will have access to the clergy files as it investigates whether church policies on sexual misconduct were followed.

The Pioneer Press notes that Whitt's letter to priests also invites them to a Wednesday briefing on how the archdiocese is handling the sexual misconduct issue.

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