Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Vatican Drops the Other Shoe In Attacking Mishandling of Sex Abuse Claims

Just days after the Vatican announced a new Tribunal to hear cases of bishops who fail to protect children from sexually abusive priests (see prior posting) and the criminal indictment of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Catholic Archdiocese for inadequate responses to reports of sexual abuse (see prior posting), the Archbishop and Auxiliary Bishop of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese have resigned. According to the National Catholic Reporter, on Monday the Vatican announced the resignations of both Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché. Nienstedt had been charged with mishandling complaints against convicted former priest Curtis Wehmeyer, and later unproven charges were leveled against Nienstedt himself claiming inappropriate sexual contact with adults and a boy. Piché oversaw the investigation of Nienstedt, and for a while headed the Archdiocese.  Newark, New Jersey Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard Hebda has been appointed Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese.

AP has a timeline of key events in the Archdiocese scandal. Wall Street Journal points out that all of this is taking place as the Archdiocese is going through a bankruptcy reorganization.

Meanwhile, the Vatican also announced on Monday that former apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, will be criminally tried in the Tribunal of the Vatican City State.  Wesolowski is charged with sexual abuse of minors while in the Dominican Republic, and possession of child pornography while in Rome. (See prior posting.)