Top Catholic Archdiocesan Officials Ordered to Testify

By Jay Olstad
February 12, 2014

[with video]

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Ramsey County judge ordered the depositions of Archbishop John Nienstedt and former Vicar General Kevin McDonough Tuesday.

Judge John Van de North said the depositions needed to take place within 30 days.

The ruling is from a current lawsuit about alleged abuse that dates back to the late 1970's.

"I'm glad finally they're being held accountable and made to move on this," said Al Michaud.

Michaud said he too was abused by a priest when he was a teenager, a case he later settled with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In a KARE 11 investigation Monday night, we reported on confidential church records documenting cases of abuse going back decades. Michaud and another victim said church officials, including McDonough broke promises not to reassign accused priests to parishes with schools.

Tuesday's ruling is separate from Michaud's accusations, but attorneys could potentially quiz church officials about his and other cases.

"It seems there has to be a court ruling they have to be forced into doing the right thing," he said.

Also part of the ruling, the archdiocese has to hand over to the court names of the priests accused of child sex abuse since 2004, however that list will remain sealed, at least for the time being.

"I did not expect something like this to happen so quickly," said Charles Reid, Ph.D.

Reid is a University of St. Thomas professor at the school of law and an expert in Canon law.

"The significance could be huge because we will have two significant principal figures in the archdiocese testifying under oath," said Reid.

Which Michaud believes is a step in the right direction.

"They have to be held accountable for what they did," he said.

McDonough did not return a phone message for comment Tuesday.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis issued the following statement:

"Ramsey County District Court Judge John Van de North today ordered discovery to continue in the Doe 1 case. The Court also ordered the parties to submit proposed orders for the Court's consideration regarding ongoing disclosure, which are due later this month. The archdiocese looks forward to working with the Court and all affected parties to promote the protection of children, the healing of victims and the restoration of trust of the faithful and our clergy who are serving our communities nobly and with honor. At the same time, we strongly assert our pursuit of justice for any who are falsely accused. All of these goals are the basis for every action and decision we are making regarding this ongoing disclosure."


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