The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has hired the former chief of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – a former SWAT team leader – to be its first hire for a new conduct standards post created in the wake of priest sexual abuse scandals.
Timothy J. O’Malley, currently a Minnesota administrative law judge (bio page), will be the new Director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment for the archdiocese, church officials announced Monday.
Among O'Malley's past jobs: FBI SWAT team member and sniper. At the FBI, he was given an award for "undercover performance in foreign counter-intelligence investigations," his bio says.
O'Malley spent 11 years with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – the state's criminal investigations department – in various jobs, including special agent, SWAT team leader and ultimately as superintendent, the top administrator.
The archdiocese for months has been reeling from allegations that it mishandled claims that priests sexually abused minors, many of which go back decades.
The creation of the new archdiocese position was one of the key recommendations in a report released in April by a task force that examined church policies related to sex abuse claims. (More here in a pdf about the task force.)
In his new job, O'Malley will oversee all "safe environment and ministerial standards programs," several of which will be rolled into one office under his leadership. That office will "address reporting, record-keeping and communication issues identified by the task force and will help bring all work into alignment with recognized best practices," the archdiocese says.
O'Malley is expected to start the new job Sept. 15.
In a news release, O'Malley said, "Like many others, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, I have been profoundly troubled and disappointed by how the church has addressed reports of abuse. I want to help change that. The archdiocese must do everything possible to prevent the kind of abuse that Pope Francis has accurately and pointedly described as 'despicable.' Protecting children must be our highest priority."
The archdiocese was pleased to have O'Malley in the church's effort to "help protect the young and vulnerable and hold accountable those who have caused harm,” Archbishop John Nienstedt said in the release.
SNAP, the victims advocacy group that has been a fiercely vocal critic of the archdiocese, said in a statement Monday, "We hope O’Malley sticks to what he says and exposes predators and those who cover it up, reports abuse to police, and is open and transparent about child sexual abuse. Only then will change begin to happen and children will really be safe."