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Church: Payments part of 'support' to ensure abusive priests don't reoffend

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Scott Domeier
Scott Domeier is the former accounting director for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He was convicted in May for theft of more than $600,000 and filing a false tax return.
MPR Photo/Tom Scheck

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is acknowledging it has financially supported priests involved in alleged sexual misconduct with adults and children. 

Priests who were involved in misconduct received financial, therapeutic and spiritual support, the archdiocese said in a statement released Tuesday.

The support is needed to ensure that the priests in question do not reoffend, the archdiocese said. The statement also said offending priests are monitored to ensure that they do not offend again. 

The former top accountant for the archdiocese has  alleged that payments were made to nine priests. 

Scott Domeier was sentenced to 39 months in prison for stealing more than $600,000 from the archdiocese and filing false tax returns. The archdiocese statement said Domeier's claims included factual errors and misrepresentations.

Domeier's statements are backed up by another former top official in the archdiocese. Jennifer Haselberger, who served as canon lawyer to Archbishop John Neinstedt, told MPR News that she was concerned about the payments to priests. She resigned her position in April.

The statement from the archdiocese comes one week after an MPR News investigation found that the  archdiocese disregarded warning signs about a priest who later sexually abused two boys.

A national survivors group is calling for Neinstedt to hold a public meeting to discuss the situation and criminal investigation into the archdiocese.