Deposition released: Nienstedt admits church hid abuse allegations


The sworn testimony given by Archbishop John Nienstedt about how he handled allegations of priest abuse was released to the public Tuesday by a St. Paul victim's lawyer.

During the four-hour April 2 deposition, Nienstedt said he took steps to keep information secret related to abusive priests and did not give complete files to police, MPR News notes.

MPR News is putting the deposition on YouTube; see a transcript of the proceedings here.

The leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was deposed as part of a lawsuit filed by a man who says the Rev. Thomas Adamson sexually abused him in the 1970s.

The Catholic church has been repeatedly sued and under fire across the state in the last year, since a new state law removed a statute of limitations on lawsuits, which allowed victims who claim abuse to file suit even if the abuse took place decades ago.

The lawsuit filed against Adamson claims the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona created a public nuisance by keeping under wraps its documents related to priest abuse, and it claims that church leaders continue to jeopardize the safety of children, MPR News notes.

The victim's lawyer, Jeff Anderson, is handling a number of cases brought against the church by men who say they were victims of abuse. He plans Tuesday morning to release video and a transcript of Nienstedt's testimony.

The deposition was significant to Anderson's cases because it was the first time Nienstedt answered questions under oath about clergy sexual abuse since he became leader of the Twin Cities archdiocese in 2008. The deposition came to an abrupt and heated end, Anderson has said.

Archdiocese officials have said Nienstedt ended the deposition because he had reached a time limit, the Star Tribune reports.

Nienstedt released a statement after the deposition that said he had "repeatedly stated that the safety of children is the archdiocese’s highest priority."

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