Archbishop reinstates deacon after review finds kids not at risk

Archbishop John Nienstedt has reinstated a deacon after a clergy review board determined there was no risk to children.

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In June, Nienstedt temporarily removed Joseph Damiani from his deacon's post after Damiani's younger brothers alleged he sexually abused them in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The review board looked at a variety of legal documents, and because of "distinct differences in the recollections of witnesses," the board was unable to determine if the allegations were valid, Nienstedt said in a statement released by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

No one has accused Damiani of misconduct in the five years he's been a deacon, Nienstedt added.

Last year, Damiani sued his brothers and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests for defamation, arguing that his brothers falsely accused him of abuse because they were unhappy with his management of a family trust fund.

His brothers filed counterclaims, and a judge dismissed all the claims last year after SNAP agreed to remove all references to Damiani from its website.