Archbishop Nienstedt’s Release of the List of Accused Priests
Statement by Terence McKiernan
December 5, 2013
We welcome the release of this highly significant list – the first church list to be released by order of the court.
We’re grateful to Jim Keenan (John Doe 73C) and John Doe 1, and to their attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who saw that their cases could help make children safe, and could help other survivors to heal. Their visionary work has transformed the cold numbers of a 2004 press release into the human story of abuse in St. Paul and Minneapolis – and soon Winona as well. Names can do what numbers never can.
We’re also grateful to Archbishop Nienstedt for his belated conversion to the cause of transparency. He clearly chose wisely in posting the entire list, including the so-called unsubstantiated claims (not a correct term for two or three of the four). As Cardinal Keeler wrote when he released the Baltimore list more than a decade ago, “Telling the truth cannot be wrong.”
It is especially important to know that the investigation regarding Rev. Robert Loftus is ongoing. The release of his name may benefit that investigation. The investigation of the claim against Rev. Patrick Ryan appears to have been thorough, but the complainant was clearly committed to that long process. We hope that the release of Ryan’s name will yield a break in that case as well.
In addition to Loftus and Ryan, there are six other priests whose allegations are being revealed today for the first time:
• Longley, Alfred
• McCarthy, Timothy
• Palmitessa, Paul
• Pinkosh, Joseph
• Skluzacek, Richard
• Walter, Raymond
Archbishop Nienstedt was seriously remiss in keeping these names secret, and he must now go the extra mile. For the “new” priests, we must know the details about their abuse histories, so that we can understand how the abuse fits into the career histories that Nienstedt has released. We must know how many persons accuse each of the priests, both the new ones and the ones whose allegations were already known. Nienstedt must also answer the Watergate question: for the new priests, what did the archdiocese know and when did they know it? Including the treatment history of all the priests on this list will help us answer that crucial question.
The list has answered some questions and raised many more. The best way to provide a full accounting is to release the files on all accused persons – priests, brothers, and sisters.
Founded in 2003, BishopAccountability.org is the world's largest public library of documents related to the abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. An independent non-profit, it is not a victims' advocacy group and is not affiliated with any church, reform, or victims' organization.
Please consult our list of church lists.
Terence McKiernan, co-director and president, 508-479-9304
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director, 781-439-5208