March 30, 2005

Church says group accused wrong priest

Pioneer Press

Pioneer Press

Tensions flared again between a clergy sex-abuse victims group and Roman Catholic Church leaders in St. Paul over the identification of an alleged perpetrator who has been dead more than three decades.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis earlier this month revealed that one new alleged perpetrator of child sex abuse was identified last year but said it will not identify him because he is deceased.

The Minnesota chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests on Tuesday named a priest it believes committed the abuse.

The archdiocese vigorously defended the priest identified by Minnesota SNAP as innocent and called the group's actions "grossly negligent and irresponsible.''

"This is an outrageous falsehood that defames the name and career of a faithful and beloved priest,'' Archbishop Harry Flynn said in a statement. "It is beyond comprehension that anyone would be this irresponsible and callous.''

Belinda Martinez, survivor liaison for Minnesota SNAP, said the group identified the priest based on earlier reports that the recently accused priest died in 1971. TheAbuse Tracker Catholic Directory shows five priests in the archdiocese died in 1971.

Posted by kshaw at March 30, 2005 07:42 AM