Files of 24 accused priests released as some court battles continue

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Detailed personnel files ranging from a dozen or so pages to more than 100 sheets, on 24 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse were released Wednesday by the the attorney who negotiated last month's landmark settlement.

All of the priests whose files were published had been the subject of "substantiated claims of the sexual abuse of a minor," either at the archdiocese or at another diocese, according to an Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis news release. All have been permanently removed from the ministry, and 15 are deceased.

The 24 names had all been publicly identified as being credibly accused of sexual abuse, the archdiocese says.

Attorney Jeff Anderson provides a link to each priest's file on his office's website, and the archdiocese lists each priest's name (along with providing some information about assignment history and other facts).

According to attorney Jeff Anderson's office, at least six of the priests listed worked in the Diocese of New Ulm, which so far has not released its list of credibly accused priests, or all of its related documentation. The Mankato Free Press reports any documents that diocese has are not in the files,.

The Star Tribune reports the Diocese of New Ulm was one of three parties in Ramsey County Court Wednesday asking a judge for a protective order that would keep some accused priests' personal information under wraps. The Diocese of Duluth and Oblates of Mary Immaculate were the other two; the judge did not make a decision, the paper reports.

Said Anderson of Wednesday's move: “This release brings more sunshine and disinfectant to a long standing problem. Today’s disclosure was possible because of the courage of Doe 1 and all the survivors who came before him."

Through the archdiocese website, Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens issued a statement, calling the files' release "in the interest of public disclosure and transparency." He continued:

"Archbishop John Nienstedt, I and all other archdiocesan leaders are committed to doing everything we can to prevent abuse of the young and the vulnerable and to help abuse victims/survivors and their loved ones heal. I apologize for the grave harm caused by clergy sexual abuse to victims/survivors, their families and their communities."

The files contain a wide range of work-related documents: school applications, test results, letters from one clergy member to another, church probings into sexual abuse claims, assignment locations and more.

Anderson outlines some of the details in a news release, which you can see here:

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