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News & Events

Statement Regarding Questions Related to Wehmeyer Case

  • Date:
  • Thursday, January 30, 2014

In response to questions seeking clarity regarding the Weymeyer case, we affirm the finding of law enforcement that we complied with the requirements of mandated reporting. We have continuously made ourselves available to law enforcement to address any outstanding questions they may have on the matter and we know, based on the body of facts of the case, that the findings announced yesterday by civil authorities are accurate.

With respect to the timeline associated with our reporting in June 2012, the earliest that any representative of the archdiocese became aware of the specific allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by Wehmeyer was on the morning of June 19, 2012. However, that information was provided to a priest of the archdiocese in the context of a pastoral relationship, which is considered privileged communication under Minnesota law. The archdiocese sought the waiver of the privilege so that we could report the matter to the police. The privilege was waived by the mother of the victim, the only person who could waive the privilege, on the afternoon of June 20. This then allowed the archdiocese to make a formal report to police the same afternoon regarding the allegations shared within the pastoral relationship. Undeniably, the report was made immediately thereafter.

We have provided a detailed timeline to law enforcement with clear supporting documentation and stand ready to provide any additional information they may need.

With respect to the decree document that states the archdiocese received a complaint regarding Wehmeyer on June 18, the following information is important to know: first, the decree was written by the former Chancellor for Canonical Affairs and provided to Archbishop John Nienstedt to sign, and so reflects her perception of the timeline; second, the date reference is inaccurate, based on all of the detailed and substantial information and documentation we have provided to the police; and third, the decree, which is a canonical document, was filed with other documents submitted to the Holy See and not included in the priest file.

Regarding statements made today at his press conference, Mr. Jeffrey Anderson’s assertions regarding the archdiocese are false, inflammatory, and misleading. We take particular exception to his unfounded assumptions regarding the intent and actions of Archbishop Nienstedt, who has been resolute in his commitment to strictly adhering to both canon and civil laws. We wish to reassert that we have cooperated with civil authorities and will continue to do so. We have a shared interest in protecting children and caring for victims.

We also continue to seek to restore trust with the faithful and all within the communities we serve, and we reaffirm our commitment to our clergy who serve our communities nobly and with honor. We know that we have made mistakes over past decades with regard to handling of cases of abuse by some members of our clergy. With a sincere desire to do the right thing, we are taking concrete actions to make amends for these mistakes and doing whatever we can within our power to prevent harm to the young and the vulnerable.

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