Pedophile-Protecting Former Archbishop Allegedly Cruised for Gay Sex in the ’80s July 20, 2015

Pedophile-Protecting Former Archbishop Allegedly Cruised for Gay Sex in the ’80s

We’re used to the Catholic Church covering up sex scandals. So when an archdiocese says it’s “considering” the release of affidavits about a former archbishop’s sexual behavior, you have to wonder what’s going on beneath the surface.

John Nienstedt (below) resigned his position as Archbishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul last month, ten days after Ramsey County (which includes the city of St. Paul) filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese. The lawsuit stated that the archdiocese had failed to protect children from abusive priests.

In a news conference in June, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi blamed archdiocese leaders like Nienstedt for the problem:

Choi called the archdiocese’s monitoring program for abusive priests “a sham,” adding, “We were falsely led to believe that the leadership structure of the archdiocese had an effective program in place” for monitoring abusive priests.

A internal investigation by the archdiocese, conducted last year but kept secret until now, turned up evidence that Nienstedt engaged in some sexual adventures of his own.

The Star Tribune found out that numerous current and former priests made sworn statements about encountering Nienstedt in gay nightclubs and cruising areas in Detroit and Ontario. It’s not clear what those priests were doing there (although one can assume), but they seem to agree about Nienstedt’s intentions:

Another affidavit from a Michigan priest said that Nienstedt pulled up to his car in an area frequented by gay men one December in the early 1980s and asked him if he had any “poppers,” an inhalant used by gay men to enhance sexual pleasure. When he got into Nienstedt’s car, and Nienstedt recognized him as a former student, he changed the subject, the priest told the Star Tribune.

Unsurprisingly, Nienstedt denies the allegations. He says he used to drive past that park on his way from home to work, and that he wasn’t even in Detroit when the priest said the incident happened. Nienstedt claims that the investigation is a retaliation against his anti-gay statements and behavior, which include inserting an anti-marriage-equality prayer into the Mass.

Nienstedt sounds like yet another closet case hiding behind religion and homophobia. What’s unique this time is that even the Church is tired of men like Nienstedt flaunting this kind of hypocrisy in their name.

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