Catholic Church Officials Allegedly Destroyed Criminal Evidence: Minnesota Priest’s Child Porn Tapes November 14, 2014

Catholic Church Officials Allegedly Destroyed Criminal Evidence: Minnesota Priest’s Child Porn Tapes

Dumb and Dummer.

When two employees at St. Mary’s church in downtown St. Paul found what they believed was child pornography in the Rev. Donald J. Dummer’s living quarters in 1997, they brought the material to an archdiocese official.

Over the next five years, the circle of church leaders made aware of the material grew. It included then-Vicar General Kevin McDonough, then-Archbishop Harry Flynn, and the Rev. Joseph Hitpas, Dummer’s superior in the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the order to which he belonged.

It even reached the apostolic nuncio in Washington, D.C., Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States.

Of course, all the senior padres investigated the heck out of the shocking tapes (try not to dwell on that image).

Or maybe they didn’t.

The potentially criminal material was never turned over to law enforcement. Instead, Hitpas told Flynn in 2002, “I will dispose of the tapes.”

It took until last year for someone in the Church to finally do something, and even that occurred only when victim groups, attorneys, and law enforcement began making the Twin Cities’ Catholic clergy rather hot under the collar.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens of the archdiocese said in a written statement Thursday that Dummer’s file was turned over to police investigators in November 2013.

After sixteen years. That’s normal, right?

“Dummer is accused of possessing child pornography while he was living within the archdiocese,” Cozzens wrote. “Today, we would handle such allegations differently.”

Church officials and Anderson identified Dummer last month as being among priests in the Twin Cities archdiocese with substantiated claims of child sexual abuse.

This ought to surprise no one either:

After the accusation, Dummer continued working in the archdiocese until 2006 as a chaplain at Regions Hospital, where he had contact with adults and children, Finnegan said. He continues to be a priest in Tewksbury, Mass.

Just yesterday, Pope Francis announced that he’d have showers for the homeless installed under the white colonnade of St. Peter’s Square. I’d suggest that some of his colleagues could maybe scrub themselves vigorously in those stalls too, to try to get rid of the pervasive stink of their Catholic hypocrisy.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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