Today’s press conference concerns a matter that is alleged to have occurred more than three decades ago. Jerome Kern was removed from ministry in 2002 and has been compliant with a monitoring program.
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis will investigate and respond to the claims raised today.
We are completely committed to ensuring the safety of children and young people who have been entrusted to our care. Since 2002 we have implemented policy and procedural reforms to clarify guidelines and strengthen enforcement. Some of the actions we have taken include completing more than 3,000 adult safe environment training sessions for approximately 70,000 adults; conducting 105,000 background checks on clergy, staff and volunteers; and providing over 100,000 children with age-appropriate lessons to help keep them safe.
As a further demonstration of our commitment to handling these matters aggressively and consistently, an independent, lay task force has been formed and is conducting a full review of our policies and practices. This objective and independent body brings specific and relevant expertise, experience, and a fresh perspective to ensure we are following best practices. Its findings will be made public when final.
In addition, Archbishop John Nienstedt has ordered a review of clergy files by an outside firm to ensure that we have not overlooked any inappropriate behavior from the past.
We are deeply sorry for any harm that has come from clergy misconduct. Eliminating any form of abuse is the highest priority for the Archdiocese.