Archdiocese's Vicar General Peter Laird Resigns Amid Court Allegations
By Emily Gurnon
October 3, 2013
|Vicar General Peter Laird was photographed at the Archdiocese Chancery on Summit Avenue in St. Paul on October 16, 2010. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)|
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said Thursday the Rev. Peter Laird has resigned as vicar general and moderator of the curia.
In that role, he assisted the archbishop in the general care and administration of the archdiocese.
Laird's departure came the same day allegations emerged in a court hearing that the archdiocese possessed images of child pornography from the computer of Hugo priest Jonathan Shelley, and 10 days after a Minnesota Public Radio news report about information the archdiocese possessed but did not give to police regarding convicted St. Paul priest Curtis Wehmeyer's sexual behavior.
"Father Laird's decision to resign was unexpected and was his decision alone. He did nothing improper," said James Accurso, spokesman for the archdiocese. "This is an opportunity for a fresh start in leadership."
In a statement posted on the archdiocese website, Laird said, "Over the last few years, this archdiocese has made significant progress in many areas, including how we have strengthened policies and practices regarding clergy misconduct.
"I am hopeful that my decision to step aside at this time, along with the formation of a new task force, can help repair the trust of many, especially the victims of abuse," he said.
Laird will remain as temporary administrator at Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood. The Rev. Mark Huberty is on leave from that post in the wake of allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a woman.
Taking over for Laird is the Rev. Charles Lachowitzer of the Church of St. John Neumann in Eagan.
Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522. Follow her at twitter.com/emilygurnon.