From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda
Reverend Lawrence Johnson – a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis who had voluntarily withdrawn from all ministry in 2014 – has been authorized to return to public ministry in the Archdiocese. In July of 2017, the Archdiocese learned of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Father Johnson said to have occurred in 1994, and reported it to law enforcement. In August 2017, law enforcement notified the Archdiocese it would not be further investigating the allegation. An Archdiocesan investigation and review then commenced.
The Archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board (MRB) has recently concluded its review of the 2017 allegation and investigation as it considered Father Johnson’s fitness for ministry. It reviewed all investigative reports, considered other acquired facts and discussed Father Johnson’s case. Father Johnson appeared before the Board and answered members’ questions. At the completion of its deliberations, the MRB determined that the allegation was not substantiated and recommended to Judge Tim O’Malley, Director of our Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, that Father Johnson be permitted to return to ministry. Judge O’Malley agreed with that recommendation, as did I.
Father Johnson, who retired from full-time ministry due to a medical disability in 2009, may resume some limited ministry in the coming months commensurate with his retired status and health considerations.