Twin Cities Archdiocese, Vatican Accused of Destroying Priest Child Porn Tapes
By Esme Murphy
November 13, 2014
There are new allegations that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis destroyed as many as five suspected child porn videos — and that the Vatican knew what happened.
This latest allegation involving the Twin Cities Catholic Church comes as a direct result of a landmark agreement between the church and victims.
The agreement has resulted in more names of priests, suspected of sexual abuse against a minor, being released.
One of the new names released by the archdiocese is 77-year-old Father Don Dummer. In 1997, when Dummer was working at St. Mary’s Church in St. Paul, a part-time employee said he found VHS tapes in Dummer’s room at a St. Paul home.
One of those videos was of 10- to 12-year-old boys playing basketball in the nude. The co-worker turned the videos over to then-Vicar General Kevin McDonough. Attorney Mike Finnegan said the co-worker waited to see what McDonough would do.
“He waited and waited and heard nothing from the vicar general, so he called McDonough again, he asked if he had checked it out and McDonough said, ‘Yes,’ and that he had destroyed the videos,” Finnegan said.
But more videos were reportedly found in Dummer’s room. In 2002, one frustrated Twin Cities parent sent three of Dummer’s videos to the Vatican’s embassy in Washington D.C.
The woman urged that Dummer should be removed from St. Mary’s and from his job as a chaplain at what is now Regions Hospital in St. Paul. But it appears the Vatican also took no action.
“The Vatican Embassy chose to avoid scandal instead of protecting children,” Finnegan said.
And in yet another letter, a superior of Dummer’s wrote that when confronted, he denied all wrongdoing — and in the same letter the superior says he will destroy the additional videos.
Father Dummer was fired in 2006 from his job as a chaplain at what is now Regions Hospital because he was rude to patients, according to the letters.
Bishop Andrew Cozzens released a statement on behalf of the archdiocese Thursday evening which said they would have handled the allegations against Dummer “differently” today.
“Archbishop John Nienstedt, I and all other archdiocesan leaders are committed to doing everything we can to prevent abuse of the young and the vulnerable and to help abuse victims/survivors and their loved ones heal,” Cozzens said. “I apologize for the grave harm caused by clergy sexual abuse to victims/survivors, their families and their communities.”
Dummer lives in a retirement home for priests in Massachusetts and could not be reached for comment.