Two Minnesota Priests Put on Leave While under Review
By Jim Adams
December 29, 2013
The priests were identified as being involved in inappropriate conduct years ago.
Two more Catholic priests have taken leaves from active ministry after an outside firm retained by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis found the priests had been involved in inappropriate conduct with minors in past years.
The Archdiocese announced Sunday that the Rev. Mark Wehmann and the Rev. Joseph Gallatin have agreed to take leaves of absence after their files were reviewed by Kinsale Management Consulting, of Los Angeles. The two will remain pastors but won’t perform public ministry until the reviews of their “boundary violation” incidents are completed.
The leaves come as Twin Cities Catholics confront a flood of allegations of priest sexual abuse and accusations that some Catholic leaders ignored warnings of sexual misconduct.
The scandal already has toppled Archbishop John Nienstedt’s vicar general, the Rev. Peter Laird, and prompted abrupt resignations from the University of St. Thomas board by former Archbishop Harry Flynn and his former top deputy, the Rev. Kevin McDonough. Both have been criticized for not responding appropriately to allegations of sexual abuse by priests.
Archbishop Nienstedt also voluntarily stopped public ministry on Dec. 17, while St. Paul Police investigate an allegation that he inappropriately touched a male minor on the buttocks in 2009 during a group photography session following a confirmation ceremony. Nienstedt called the claim “absolutely and entirely false.”