Latest on church abuse: Whistleblower: Right move to resign

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Posted: Jun 15, 2015 4:10 PM
Latest on church abuse: Whistleblower: Right move to resign

2:55 p.m. CDT

The whistleblower who accused Catholic leaders in Minnesota of mishandling clergy abuse cases says Archbishop John Nienstedt's resignation was "a necessary and prudent step."

Jennifer Haselberger was an archdiocese lawyer when she came forward in 2013 to accuse Nienstedt and others of doing too little to rein in problem priests. Nienstedt resigned Monday, 10 days after a prosecutor filed criminal charges that accuse the archdiocese as a corporation of failing to protect children.

Haselberger says those charges and the civil petition prosecutors also filed made it impossible for Nienstedt or another bishop, Lee Piche (pih-SHAY'), to stay in their jobs.

She says any support the two might have had to stay would have disappeared from anyone who read the criminal complaint.

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2:30 p.m. CDT

A man who says he was sexually abused by a Minnesota priest decades ago is welcoming the resignation of St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Al Michaud (mih-SHAWD') sued the archdiocese in the 1980s, long before Nienstedt led the archdiocese, and eventually settled.

The 54-year-old Michaud called Nienstedt's resignation a "huge step" but says more needs to happen.

Nienstedt resigned Monday, 10 days after Minnesota prosecutors filed criminal charges accusing the archdiocese of failing to protect children.

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1:20 p.m. CDT

The head of a support group for people abused by priests says the Vatican should do much more to clean up the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis than accept the resignations of two top officials.

David Clohessy (CLAW'-see) is executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. He says Monday's resignations of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Lee Piche (pih-SHAY') "doesn't feel like reform."

Clohessy says Pope Francis should move to defrock top church leaders in the archdiocese.

Nienstedt and Piche resigned Monday, 10 days after a prosecutor filed criminal charges that accuse the archdiocese of failing to protect children.

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1:05 p.m. CDT

The Minnesota prosecutor who brought criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says the archbishop's resignation won't stop his investigation.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi says his goal is to hold the archdiocese accountable for actions that he says didn't protect children.

Choi says Archbishop John Nienstedt's resignation doesn't directly accomplish that goal, although he calls it a good step toward a new beginning.

Nienstedt announced his resignation Monday, less than two weeks after Choi filed charges.

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11:50 a.m. (CDT)

Officials of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis are calling Archbishop John Nienstedt's resignation "a painful process."

But Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens (cousins) says Nienstedt's departure is a chance for "greater healing and an ability to move forward."

Nienstedt announced his resignation Monday, a little more than a week after the archdiocese was charged by criminal prosecutors with failing to protect children.

Cozzens and other church officials took no questions after making a brief statement in St. Paul.

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9:50 a.m. (CDT)

Parishioners leaving morning mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul have mixed feelings about the resignations of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Bishop Lee Anthony Piche.

The clerics' departures come less than two weeks after the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was charged with failing to protect children from clergy abuse.

Parishioner Leslie Ahlers, of Eagan, said Monday she considers Nienstedt a dedicated and thoughtful church leader, but that his resignation heralds a new chapter for the archdiocese.

Fifty-nine-year-old Marie Warren, who regularly attends mass at the cathedral, says it would be a mistake to lose sight of the victims of abuse and the handling of allegations that led to Nienstedt and Piche stepping down. She says prayers are needed for the children who were verbally, sexually and mentally abused.

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9:15 a.m. (CDT)

A Minnesota attorney who has filed countless lawsuits against the Catholic Church over alleged clergy abuse says he's not surprised by the resignation of the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Archbishop John Nienstedt announced his resignation Monday, along with that of Bishop Lee Piche. Their departure comes less than two weeks after the archdiocese was charged with failing to protect children.

Attorney Jeff Anderson says it's clear to him that the two were forced out. He says their resignations are part of an "important reckoning" for the failure of top officials to respond appropriately when priests were accused of abusing children.

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9 a.m. (CDT)

A Minnesota organization supporting victims of clergy abuse says the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis should lead to vigilance, not complacency.

The Vatican announced Monday that Pope Francis has accepted Nienstedt's resignation. The archdiocese was recently charged with ignoring reports of inappropriate behavior by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys

Frank Meuers, the southern Minnesota leader for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says the pope must start defrocking clerics who cover up crimes, not just priests who commit them.

Meuers says until that happens, little will change.

He says protecting predators and endangering kids is a long-standing pattern in the Catholic church and it won't end with the departure of one man.

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7:25 a.m. (CDT)

A critic of Archbishop John Nienstedt says his resignation from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was necessary because the sex abuse scandal there has become overwhelming.

The Rev. Michael Tegeder of St. Francis Cabrini Church in Minneapolis has been calling for Nienstedt's resignation for two years.

Tegeder says Nienstedt has undermined the archdiocese and the safety of its children.

Tegeder says it's time to pick up the pieces and find a new direction. He says Nienstedt's resignation is a sign of hope that change is possible.

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6:30 a.m. (CDT)

Archbishop John Nienstedt says he's leaving the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis "with a clear conscience."

The Vatican said Monday that Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche. The archdiocese was recently charged with ignoring repeated reports of inappropriate behavior by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.

Nienstedt said in a statement Monday that his leadership has drawn attention away from the good works of the church. He asks for prayers for his successor.

In a separate statement, Bishop Piche says he is stepping down because his continued service prevents healing and hope for the people he has served.

Rev. Bernard Hebda, the Coadjutor Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, has been named temporary administrator of the archdiocese.