Twin Cities (Minnesota) Archbishop John Nienstedt (below) has spent years arguing against LGBT rights. In 2007, he wrote that “those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts… formally cooperate in a grave evil and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin.” He condemned Brokeback Mountain when it came out. And he spent $650,000 of the Church’s money trying to convince Minnesota voters to pass an amendment banning same-sex marriage — an amendment that ultimately failed.
So guess what an investigation just found? GUESS! (Oh, this is too damn easy…)
[Nienstedt] is being investigated for “multiple allegations” of inappropriate sexual conduct with seminarians, priests, and other men, according to the archbishop’s former top canon lawyer, Jennifer Haselberger. The investigation is being conducted by a law firm hired by the archdiocese. Nienstedt denies the allegations.
“Based on my interview with [Minneapolis law firm] Greene Espel — as well as conversations with other interviewees — I believe that the investigators have received about ten sworn statements alleging sexual impropriety on the part of the archbishop dating from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit, as Bishop of New Ulm, and while coadjutor and archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis,” Haselberger told me. What’s more, “he also stands accused of retaliating against those who refused his advances or otherwise questioned his conduct.”
Nienstedt denies the allegations, of course, adding that they don’t “involve minors or illegal or criminal behavior”… which is great but still doesn’t absolve him from doing the very thing he’s said throughout his career that no one should do. (It’s pretty sad when “C’mon, at least I’m not a pedophile” is your best defense.)
This isn’t just a victimless problem. Curtis Wehmeyer, a man who had a history of sexual misconduct, was promoted by Nienstedt to become pastor of two parishes… where he ended up molesting children. A separate investigation found that Nienstedt was aware of that man’s criminal history when he promoted him. How could that happen? Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if that history was just swept under the rug, allowing bad behavior to get even worse.
In a statement released yesterday, Nienstedt says he welcomes the investigation and denies doing anything illegal. But, as I said earlier, he doesn’t even bother to dismiss the possibility that he’s just a hypocrite.
(via Religion News Service)