Archdiocese officials, St. Paul police meet in private to discuss allegations

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A closed-door meeting between St Paul police and officials from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was held Wednesday to discuss allegations of clergy sex abuse, the Star Tribune reports.

The meeting came after a Tuesday press conference where St. Paul Chief of Police Thomas Smith criticized church leaders for not cooperating with the department's investigation.

"Let me be very clear on this. We have – through written and verbal requests – made clear our desire to speak to individuals connected with the archdiocese, and we've been told, 'No,'" Smith said at the press conference.

FOX 9 confirmed that an allegation against Archbishop John Nienstedt was not the only one discussed at Wednesday's meeting, which was attended by Vicar General Rev. Charles Lachowitzer and an attorney from the archdiocese.

Neither police nor the archdiocese disclosed where the meeting was held, or how long they met for.

Nienstedt stepped aside from his position Tuesday while he is being investigated by St. Paul police over an allegation that he inappropriately touched a boy in 2009. The archbishop is being accused of touching the buttocks of a minor during a group photo session following a confirmation ceremony.

A statement from the archdiocese says the archbishop voluntarily removed himself from the public ministry.

Nienstedt denied the allegation in a letter on the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis website.

St. Paul police sent out a pair of tweets at 4 p.m., after the meeting wrapped up, that contained few details.

The archdiocese followed the session with a statement that said, "We had a productive and amicable meeting today and concur with the St. Paul Police’s account of our meeting."

One person not remaining silent over the allegation against Nienstedt is Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights President Bill Donahue, who said Wednesday that he is suspicious of the claim and wants the identity of the archbishop's accuser revealed.

"Somebody knows who this character is who is making these accusations — I can’t wait to get to the bottom of this," Donahue told WCCO AM. "Nienstedt has been the subject of a non-stop crusade orchestrated by enemies of the Catholic Church. The time has come when people need to fight back."

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