Skip to main content

'Serious shortcomings': Task force critical of archdiocese

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A new report from a task force launched by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis notes "serious shortcomings" in the way the archdiocese handled allegations that priests were sexually abusing minors.

The 56-page report, released Monday, says the archdiocese put too much decision power in the hands of one or two people when it came to dealing with allegations of priests sexually abusing minors.

"Despite Archdiocesan policies and procedures designed to protect against clergy sexual abuse of minors, a flawed organizational structure with little oversight and accountability created opportunities" for abuse, the report says.

The task force also faults the archdiocese for the way it communicated about child abuse both within the organization and with church members and the public.

"Processes and decisions have appeared secretive and sequestered, even if that was not the intent,” the report says.

The archdiocese for months has been reeling from allegations that it mishandled abuse claims.

The report recommends, in part, that the archdiocese:

– Revise its Safe Environment organizational structure.

– Create a better audit system to review whether that Safe Environment program is working.

– Create a more effective record-keeping procedure to ensure that information related to clergy sexual misconduct is compiled, centralized and made accessible to decision makers

Archbishop John Nienstedt has said he would follow recommendations made by the task force, formed last October and created by the Rev. Reginald Whitt, a Dominican priest and law professor at the University of St. Thomas.

Nienstedt in a press release says the report will "guide us in fulfilling our important goals which I have stated before and repeat now: the protection of children, the healing of victims, and the restoration of trust of the faithful and of our clergy who are serving our communities with honor."

Critics blasted the new report as a weak indictment. The organization SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the church's "recklessness and callousness have already been exposed numerous times by law enforcement, news sources, court documents and brave survivors. This report admits – in very 'toned down' terms - what everyone already knows and has known for months or years."

The group also says the archdiocese's "vague acknowledgment that 'people at the top' have made 'mistakes' is old news and deceitful. They have engaged in criminal behavior."

Next Up


Wild flip the script, dominate Blackhawks

Ryan Hartman scored twice to earn the first game of a back-to-back.

Hopkins Basketball

Hopkins suffers rare loss to No. 1 ranked Sidwell Friends

The Royals held their own in a battle of the nation's best.

argue-wertman booking photos

Charges: 2 teens responsible for violent carjacking spree across Twin Cities

They face a combined 31 felony counts, all tied to carjackings and related crimes.

rep nolan west mn house

MN rep. says he was 'assaulted' at activist group's public meeting

The Republican said a man grabbed his arms and yanked him from the room.

Screen Shot 2022-01-20 at 12.56.52 PM

What were the 'bizarre things' seen in Minnesota's sky?

The mysterious streaks were not UFOs and they weren't pieces of an asteroid.

icicles, freezing weather, cold weather

Booming noises in the night could be frost quakes

The loud sounds are most likely to happen during the middle of the night.

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

Free COVID testing site to open in St. Paul for 3 weeks

The federal testing site comes as demand for testing remains high.

Reyel Simmons photo 1 - complaint - crop

MN TikToker accused of faking federal agent life pleads guilty

He told his 10,000 followers he was a Homeland Security agent — authorities say it was a lie.


Report: Vikings request second interview with 2 GM candidates

Ryan Poles of the Chiefs and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Browns.

Amaya Battle

Hopkins takes on No. 1 team in the country on ESPNU Friday

The game will feature a pair of top recruits in the Class of 2022.

st. paul federation of educators - teachers

Educators in Minneapolis, St. Paul could strike amid contract negotiations

Teachers and support staff are demanding smaller class sizes, mental health support and better pay.