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Video: St. Paul police chief says victims come first in clergy abuse investigation

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St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith
St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith talks to reporters ahead of a news conference with Ramsey County Attorney John Choi
Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News

Before a news conference he held alongside Ramsey County Attorney John Choi on Wednesday morning, St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith sat down with reporters to discuss the progress of the police investigation into alleged clergy sexual abuse.

Smith had said at a news conference in mid-December that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had been uncooperative in his department's investigation. "It's never good enough when someone tells us no," Smith said then. 

"When I hear over and over again that 'mistakes have been made,' we need to know what those mistakes are."

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In Wednesday's meetings with reporters, Smith said the church had become more responsive since he made his earlier frustrations known. Police are now meeting regularly with attorneys for the archdiocese and its vicar general, he said.

He repeated his request that victims come forward, regardless of when abuse might have occurred.

Smith says his department continues to investigate other open cases, though it has not employed search warrants to gain access to church files. Because the archdiocese covers 12 counties, Smith said, St. Paul police are working with law enforcement in other counties where alleged abuse might have taken place.

MPR News producer Sasha Aslanian contributed to this report.