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Twin Cities archdiocese in court for first time in criminal sex abuse case

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The sex abuse trial involving the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is underway.

Representatives of the archdiocese appeared as scheduled Thursday for its first county court appearance, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office said, after being charged with failing to protect children in June.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the institution's "failures have caused great suffering by the victims and their family and betrayed our entire community."

The archdiocese didn't enter a plea Thursday, and no church leaders showed up, the Associated Press reports.

Afterward, Choi's office released a statement saying, since the charges were filed, the archdiocese "has begun to demonstrate a spirit of reform," noting the resignation of former archbishop John Nienstedt, as well as Bishop Lee Pace.

"As the criminal and civil cases progress toward resolution in the courts, we continue to engage the Archdiocese and insist upon meaningful corrective actions and systemic change,” Choi said.

It won't comment further at this time.

According to the Star Tribune, this is the first time an archdiocese as a whole has been charged with those types of crimes. Usually, individual priests are the subjects of charges, the paper says.

The sex abuse scandal has rocked the Catholic archdiocese since it emerged in 2013, and has since prompted it to file for bankruptcy as it prepares to settle claims brought forward by victims.

The next court date in the criminal proceedings is slated for Nov. 30.

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