The man in question is John Nienstedt, leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He has been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with other priests
Marco Tosatti Taken from Vatican Insider
The archbishop of a major American city has decided to open an inquiry into a Prelate accused of making inappropriate sexual advances toward other priests and of placing the inquiry in the hands of an auxiliary bishop and an independent agency that specializes in this field of work. All this would seem normal and humdrum if the person at the centre of the inquiry was not the archbishop himself. The man in question is John Nienstedt, leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The diocese released a statement announcing the launch of the inquiry: “Upon my direction, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is conducting an internal investigation involving allegations made against me. These allegations are absolutely and entirely false. Nonetheless, I ordered Bishop Lee Piché to oversee an independent, thorough investigation and that he hire an outside firm unaffiliated with the Archdiocese to conduct the investigation,” it reads.
Nienstedt then went on to clarify that “the allegations do not involve minors or lay members of the faithful, and they do not implicate any kind of illegal or criminal behavior. The allegations involve events alleged to have occurred at least a decade ago, before I began serving in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”
The agency that was hired is one Minneapolis’ most prestigious: Greene Espel. At the start of the year, the archbishop flew to Washington with the auxiliary bishops, to inform the papal Nuncio the US, Mgr. Carlo Viganò, of the matter. As this is a private investigation that has no criminal or civil consequences, the agency’s task is to deliver a report to the Archdiocese. Once this phase is complete the report will presumably be sent to the papal Nuncio in the US who will in turn inform the Pope and the relevant Congregations.
“Let us pray that the truth will come out as a result of the investigation,” Nienstedt said in his statement. Last December the archbishop excluded himself from the public ministry after he was accused of touching a boy’s buttocks during a confirmation photo shoot. But he resumed his duties in March, after the county prosecutor exonerated him from all wrongdoing.
Nienstedt was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit in 1996 and Bishop of Ulm, Minnesota, in 2001. Six years later, he was nominated Coadjutor Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He has been archbishop since 2008 and has earned himself a reputation for his extreme positions regarding homosexuality. This seems to be in stark contrast with the accusations made against him. “Those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts…formally cooperate in a grave evil and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin,” Nienstedt wrote in 2007.
He also criticized “Brokeback Mountain”, the film about the two married cowboys who fall in love. ““Surely they must be aware that they have turned their backs on God and the standards of God in their quest to make evil look so attractive,”he said, referring to Holywood and the film’s producers. Nienstedt actively opposed same-sex marriage and recorded an introduction to a DVD on the subject, which was sent to hundreds of thousands of Catholics in Minnesota.