Archdiocese disputes claims Nienstedt not cooperative in deposition

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The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is disputing claims that Archbishop John Nienstedt wasn't fully cooperative in a deposition Wednesday over the way church leaders handled clergy sex abuse allegations, The Associated Press reports.

An Archdiocese spokesman said Thursday that Nienstedt fulfilled the four-hour deposition period ordered by the court. But attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents plaintiff Doe-1 in the action, says Nienstedt ended the deposition abruptly when pressed to turn over to authorities more files of credibly accused priests.

“The archbishop balked and refused … and they walked out,” Anderson said, according to the Star Tribune. “They said the time was up. We persisted that it wasn’t.”

Speaking to reporters after the deposition Wednesday, Anderson said Nienstedt was not as forthcoming as he should have been, FOX 9 reports.

The lawsuit filed by Doe-1 claims he was sexually abused by a priest, the Rev. Thomas Adamson, in the 1970s when Adamson was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Paul Park.

The Archdiocese released a statement after Nienstedt's deposition Wednesday, noting that Nienstedt "stated that the safety of children is the archdiocese’s highest priority."

"He responded to questions about the tragedy of sexual abuse by clergy, and how the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis handled this issue during his tenure," the statement read in part. "He expressed regret for mistakes that were made in the past with how the archdiocese responded to allegations of sexual abuse against clergy."

On Monday, the Archdiocese began handing over the first of some 60,000 documents related to the clergy sex abuse claims -- some of which date back to the 1970s and include hand-written notes.

Spokesman Jim Accurso said Thursday that the Archdiocese is making every effort to meet the court’s schedule for turning over documents.

Former Vicar General Kevin McDonough is also due to be deposed in the case on April 16.

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