Meeting between archbishop, clergy abuse victims a first of its kind


A support group for victims of clergy sex abuse held a meeting over the weekend. It followed the same rules as all its other meetings, except for seated at the table with survivors was a man who represents the church they say abused them.

Archbishop John Nienstedt, who was not allowed to wear clerical robes, attended Saturday's support group meeting at the Wayzata library, the Star Tribune reports. This meeting was likely the first of its kind in Minnesota, and possibly the nation, the newspaper says.

The meeting, which about 25 people attended, was divided into two parts, according to a post on the Minnesota Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests' (SNAP) website. First, the victims took turns sharing their stories, which gave the state's top Catholic leader an inside look at the impact of abuse. Then there was an open discussion where all were invited to talk about what they'd learned during the sharing portion.

One victim reminded Nienstedt that continuing psychological care is important for survivors. The victim told the Star Tribune he's hoping the meeting was a sign that "things are heading in the right direction."

After the meeting, which was closed to the media, Nienstedt told the Star Tribune via email that he was "honored and thankful" the survivors shared their experiences with him. He told the newspaper he was moved by the victims' stories, which he says "encourage me to continue in our direction of protecting children from any abuse."

Bob Schwiderski, the former director of SNAP, invited Nienstedt to the meeting after asking permission from members of the support group, The Associated Press says. The meeting was not endorsed by SNAP, Barbara Blaine, the organization's president, told BringMeTheNews Tuesday.

Last week, a dozen faculty members at the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic college in St. Paul, wrote an open letter to Nienstedt calling for him to address the "spiritual and legal crisis" facing the local church.

The faculty members did not call for Nienstedt to resign his position, as others have proposed. Nienstedt has said he will not step down.

Next Up

Image from iOS (101)

Charges: Driver was drunk, speeding before crash that killed 1-year-old son

A total of five children were in the back seat at the time, according to the charges.

Jeff Gladney

Vikings release Jeff Gladney following domestic violence charge

His release is effective immediately, the team said.

Screen Shot 2021-08-03 at 3.28.56 PM

Body pulled from water near Lebanon Hills Park swimming area

Surveillance footage showed a man walking towards the beach on Sunday.

fire truck

Victims of double-fatal house fire in Wadena County identified

The man and woman died in the early Sunday house fire.

Screen Shot 2021-08-03 at 7.50.23 AM

Charges: Witness thought Austin man was 'joking' before he killed woman

The criminal complaint details what may have led to the 20-year-old's death.

Melvin Carter

Minneapolis and St. Paul to require face masks in city buildings

The mayors are also urging businesses to adopt mask rules for customers.


Charges detail murder of woman by fugitive bomb-maker husband

Eric Reinbold is accused of killing his 34-year-old wife.

Jeff Gladney

Vikings' 2020 first-round pick Gladney indicted by Texas grand jury

If convicted Gladney could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.

face mask

List of places in Minnesota now requiring or recommending face masks

Businesses and organizations are changing their policies in response to the delta variant.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

The 2021 Minnesota State Fair: Everything you need to know

From ticket prices to new foods to health protocols, we've got you covered.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Suspect steals unlocked squad car, leads officers on miles-long chase

The suspect also brandished a shotgun from the stolen vehicle out the window.