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Archdiocese to release list of priests accused of sexually abusing minors

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After multiple requests by victims' attorneys over the years, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said it intended to release a list of more than two dozen priests accused of child sex abuse.

The Star Tribune reports Archbishop John Nienstedt made the announcement Monday morning to disclose “the names, locations and status of priests who are currently living in the Archdiocese, and who we know have substantiated claims against them of committing sexual abuse against minors.” All have been removed from ministry.

The newspaper says the list will not include names of dead priests who committed sex crimes, past offenders living outside the archdiocese, sexual offenders who have been removed from priesthood and any priest who has been accused of sexual misconduct involving adults.

Nienstedt's open letter was issued in response to allegations against Rev. Clarence Vavra, the focus of a Minnesota Public Radio investigation. Vavra admitted that he engaged in sexual contact with several young boys decades ago, but three archbishops, including Nienstedt, failed to report him to authorities.

"Serious errors were made by the archdiocese in dealing with him," Nienstedt said in the letter. Vavra was removed from ministry in 2003.

The archdiocese has been reluctant to disclose the priests' names, saying it wouldn't be fair to falsely-accused clergy members, the Associated Press reported.

Nienstedt says he ordered an independent review of priest files in October and the list should be released sometime this month.

MPR previously reported that the list includes 33 priests with "credible allegations" against them.

Dioceses across the country compiled similar lists about 10 years ago. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee released thousands of pages of documents related to clergy sex abuse in July.

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