Clergy abuse timeline: How the Twin Cities archdiocese got here
By Jean Hopfensperger
July 20, 2016
A look back at the history of events in the child sex abuse scandal at the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
May 23: A change in Minnesota law creates a three-year window for filing sex abuse lawsuits previously barred by statute of limitations, triggering a wave of lawsuits against the archdiocese seeking millions of dollars in damages.
May 29:The first lawsuit is filed, by a John Doe 1, in Ramsey District Court.
September 23: Former archdiocese canon lawyer Jennifer Haselberger reveals evidence that church officials overlooked sexual misconduct.
October 13: A task force is formed to investigate clergy sexual misconduct.
October 14: A Twin Cities woman sues a priest for sexual contact.
October 17: St. Paul police ask abuse victims to come forward.
November 12: Archbishop John Nienstedt says he will release a partial list of accused priests.
November 18: A clergy abuse victim hopes for justice.
December 3: Ramsey County judge orders archdiocese to release full list of credibly accused priests.
December 5: The archdiocese releases names of 34 accused priests.
December 15: Archbishop John Nienstedt acknowledges that abuse allegations were mishandled.
January 29: No charges are filed against archdiocese in a case against previously convicted priest.
April 2: Archbishop Nienstedt gives court deposition on clergy abuse.
May 28: A former vicar general says Archbishop John Nienstedt should consider resigning from his post.
June 4: Former Twin Cities Archbishop Flynn says he does not recall clergy abuse details.
August 20: An abuse victim reaches a settlement with the archdiocese
August 26: Archdiocese hires Timothy O'Malley, former head of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, as its point person on clergy sex abuse.
September 10: Ramsey County Attorney John Choi says criminal charges are unlikely in 10 priest abuse cases because cases are so old.
October 14: Archdiocese and victims’ attorney reach landmark settlement on how abuse cases will be handled.
November 20: The archdiocese acknowledges it is considering bankruptcy after a rocky financial picture emerges.
November 26: The archdiocese sues 20 insurance companies to force them to pay abuse expenses.
January 12: An abuse victim, previously unidentified, speaks out against priest.
January 16: The archdiocese declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
June 5: Ramsey County attorney's office files criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for "failing to protect children." The charges stem from the archdiocese's oversight failures regarding former priest Curtis Wehmeyer, who is now serving a prison term. It is the first time a U.S. archdiocese has been criminally charged for such offenses.
June 15: Archbishop John Nienstedt resigns as head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, saying, "My leadership has unfortunately drawn attention away from the good works [of the church]." Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche also resigns.
August 3: More than 400 claims are filed as state deadline for filing clergy sex abuse lawsuits against the archdiocese passes. Interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda described the number as "staggering."
December 18: The Archdiocese and Ramsey County reach an unprecedented three-year agreement to settle the civil case in return for enfocing new protocols to prevent and address child sex abuse. Thue church will appear in court every six months for three years to provide status updates and two independent audits will measure the church's progress.
March 24: Interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda is named as permanent replacement for John Nienstedt.
May 26: The Archdiocese files its financial reorganization plan, offering to create a $65 million trust fund for victims, which could increase in size if further insurance settlements are reached, as well as a $500,000 counseling fund for victims and new protocols to prevent future abuse. Victims' attorney Jeff Anderson says the plan grossly understates the church's available assets.