Archdiocese criticizes story about how it disclosed clergy accused of sexual abuse
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a statement late Wednesday criticizing an MPR News story on clergy accused of sexual abuse.
The MPR News story published Wednesday said the archdiocese has not disclosed a complete list of clergy accused of child sexual abuse. The story cited police reports, court records and the archdiocese's internal files.
• Number of alleged sex abusers greater than archdiocese has revealed | MPR News (Feb. 19, 2014)
In its statement, the archdiocese said that it remains committed to disclosing "substantiated" claims of abuse. "The 28 clergy members identified by MPR have not been publicly disclosed by the archdiocese because they do not, to date, constitute substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor," the statement said. The archdiocese said that improperly identifying individuals "is irresponsible and does not serve victims, safety of children or the public good."
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The archdiocese has been working with Kinsale Management Consulting, a private firm, to review its clergy personnel files.
• Accused priests: Who they are, where they've served, what's alleged | MPR News (Feb. 19, 2014)
"With the engagement of the Kinsale team, the archdiocese continues to work on fulfilling the public promises we have made to create safe environments for children, care for victims, facilitate a healing process for our local church in order to restore trust with the Catholic faithful, and restore trust with clergy who are serving honorably," the archdiocese's statement said. "In the event any of the claims against 28 of the clergy members identified by MPR are substantiated, they will be disclosed on our website according to our policy."
The archdiocese, in its statement, defined a credible claim as "one that is not manifestly false or frivolous." It said credible claims are investigated by the archdiocese to "determine whether a claim is substantiated," the statement said. "A substantiated claim is one for which sufficient evidence exists to establish reasonable grounds to believe that the alleged abuse occurred."
The MPR News story said that law enforcement officials are investigating an allegation of child sexual abuse against the Rev. Gerald Grieman, a priest who retired from the archdiocese and now lives in Arizona. It said that the archdiocese had reported the abuse allegation to the New Brighton Police Department in 2006 and that the case was closed, according to the police report, because officers could not locate the alleged victim. The alleged victim made his own report to the New Brighton police in 2013, and that case was closed without criminal charges, MPR News reported.
• Betrayed by Silence | An MPR News investigation
The case was recently reopened and the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office is investigating. In its statement, the archdiocese said, "Allegations against Father Gerald Grieman, now retired, were reported to the New Brighton Police Department and determined to be without merit."
The archdiocese disclosed the names of 33 priests under court order on Dec. 5, 2013. It has also released the names of another 10 allegedly abusive clergy.
The court order came as part of a lawsuit filed a man who said he was sexually abused in 1976 and 1977 by the Rev. Thomas Adamson. Ramsey County Judge John Van de North ordered the archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona to release the names of the "credibly accused" priests included on a previously sealed list.
Van de North also ordered the release of the names of all priests accused of child sexual abuse after 2004 by this Tuesday, Feb. 18.
The archdiocese appealed that part of the judge's order on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Chief Judge Edward Cleary asked seven questions about the archdiocese's request and ordered both sides to provide their answers by Feb. 26.
The Court of Appeals has not yet determined whether it has jurisdiction to hear the appeal, the order said.