Twin Cities Archbishop Nienstedt Accused of Inappropriately Touching Boy
By Jean Hopfensperger
December 17, 2013
Nienstedt vehemently denied allegations and will remove himself from public ministry. Police say church officials aren’t fully cooperating.
Archbishop John Nienstedt has been accused of inappropriately touching a boy, and has removed himself from public ministry while the matter is investigated, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Tuesday.
The move comes after a young man alleged that Nienstedt touched his buttocks during a group photo session following a confirmation ceremony in 2009.
Nienstedt called the allegation “absolutely and entirely false.”
The incident was reported to St. Paul Police, which began an investigation Monday.
St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith declined to comment on the allegation against Nienstedt at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. He said the public can rest assured that his department has assigned adequate resources to investigate that case and others.
But the chief took exception to the archdiocese’s assertion that it is cooperating fully with police. Smith said his investigators have been denied access to certain clergy members for informational interviews.
He specifically said that former vicar general Kevin McDonough has declined to be interviewed by the police.