Abuse victims: Church took too long to release priest names

Jeff Anderson
Attorney Jeff Anderson and his associates approach a Ramsey County District courtroom in St. Paul, Minn. Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.
Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News

A list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, released Thursday by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, should have been made public decades ago, victims of abuse by clergy members said.

At an afternoon press conference at the St. Paul office of attorney Jeff Anderson, who has sued the archdiocese on behalf of victims since the 1980s, several victims said church leadership bears responsibility for not acting sooner.

"They allowed this to happen," said Al Michaud of Eden Prairie. "They shuffled abusive priests around. Ninety-two parishes were affected by this and if they only did the right thing back when things were first reported we wouldn't be here."

Michaud said he was abused by the Rev. Jerome Kern in the 1970s. The 66-year-old priest is on the lists of priests who have been credibly accused.

In St. Paul, where a police investigation into individual priests and the Twin Cities archdiocese has been under way for several weeks, the list won't change the course of the investigation, police spokesman Howie Padilla said.

"Frankly what we continue to ask for is the same thing we've asked for in the past, and that's victims. If victims are comfortable at this point to tell their story, we'd like their stories to be told to law enforcement. That's what will allow us to be investigating cases."

• Related: Archdiocese names 30 priests linked to child sexual abuse over six decades
• Related: Judge orders names of 46 accused priests to be released
• Related: Abusive priest hid in plain sight for years, retired quietly to New Prague
• MPR News investigation: Archdiocese under scrutiny

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