Prominent cleric calls for release of files on ex-archbishop Nienstedt

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A prominent Twin Cities Catholic cleric has called on the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to release the details of investigations into the alleged sexual misconduct of recently-resigned Archbishop John Nienstedt.

In a letter posted on the The Basilica of St. Mary blog, the Rev. John Bauer said it is "absolutely imperative" that the archdiocese release the results of probes into Archbishop Nienstedt's conduct, probes that MPR has claimed were curtailed at his behest.

"I believe that in order for our Archdiocese to rebuild the trust needed for the healing process to begin, full disclosure is essential so that we can move forward with the clear and certain knowledge that nothing has been or is being hidden or concealed," he wrote.

 Rev. John Bauer (Photo: Basilica of St. Mary)

Rev. John Bauer (Photo: Basilica of St. Mary)

"It is my firm belief, as I hope it is yours as well, that it is only through this kind of transparency and openness that our Archdiocese will be able to move forward in healing and hope," he added.

Among the reports Rev. Bauer wants released is one carried out by law firm Greene Espel, which was prompted by allegations that Nienstedt had inappropriate relationships with priests, seminarians and other men, and was requested by Nienstedt himself to clear his name.

He also wants to see a report prepared by Minneapolis attorney Peter Wold, any reports the archdiocese prepared for Carlo Maria Vigano – the top representative for the Vatican in the United States, and a breakdown of the money spent on the probes.

The Star Tribune claims its sources say that at least four Catholic priests, one former priest and two former seminarians have submitted affidavits related to the Nienstedt investigation, which describe personal encounters with Nienstedt dating back to the 1970s.

The newspaper notes that it is the first time a member of the Twin Cities clergy has publicly called for the publication of the allegations against Nienstedt, which he has previously said are "absolutely and entirely false."

You can read MPR's detailed report into Nienstedt's role in the investigations here.

Nienstedt resigned earlier this month, 10 days after Ramsey County filed criminal charges against the archdiocese for failing to protect children from an abusive priest.

The archdiocese has not yet commented on Rev. Bauer's letter.

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