From Judge Timothy O’Malley, Director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment
In the early reporting and commentary regarding the Father Dolan investigation that is underway by the Edina Police Department there has been some suggestion that the Archdiocese may not have complied with our Safe Environment protocols. That suggestion is misinformed and erroneous. I want to assure the Catholic faithful and the public that we have fully complied with our Safe Environment protocols.
One of the key principals of our Doe 1 protocols and our Settlement Agreement with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office is the Archdiocese’s commitment that we will “not interfere in any way with law enforcement until law enforcement concludes its investigation, closes its file without an investigation, or authorizes the Archdiocese to take action.” The Archdiocese has fully cooperated with the Edina Police Department. Specifically, as requested by the Edina Police Department, we did not take actions that could have interfered with that investigation.
Thursday afternoon, we were advised by the Edina Police Department that they had interviewed Father Dolan and we were authorized to take certain actions. The criminal investigation was not publicly known, and we were requested by the Edina Police Department not to unnecessarily highlight it.
Thursday night, after consulting with the Edina Police Department, Archbishop Hebda and I met with Father Dolan. Father Dolan agreed to take a leave of absence in a manner that would minimize the likelihood that the nature of the investigation would be apparent, thereby honoring the Police Department’s request. Father Dolan’s leave included restrictions that met the Archdiocese’s commitment to the safety of children.
Friday, we notified the parish and issued a statement that indicated that Father Dolan was involved in an investigation. We intentionally did not disclose the nature of the investigation, as requested by the Edina Police Department. Again, the decision regarding the nature of the leave of absence and the level of public disclosure was made in full cooperation and consultation with law enforcement.
Late Friday afternoon, the Edina Police Department filed a search warrant that publicly identified its ongoing investigation and its nature. Based on the additional information, and after consulting with the Edina Police Department this morning, the Archdiocese is now taking additional actions. Father Dolan remains on leave from ministry and, in addition to other restrictions, is prohibited from wearing a collar or presenting himself as a priest. Further, and in accordance with our protocols, we are again publicly disclosing his ministerial status.
Father Dolan is presumed innocent. I understand how it is easy to jump to uninformed conclusions without all of the facts at times like these. In fairness to all involved, it is important to allow investigators time to do their work and come to sound conclusions based on evidence. The Archdiocese encourages anyone who has relevant information to notify the Edina Police Department.
In accordance with our procedures, we will conduct our own investigation after we are advised by law enforcement that we may do so without interfering with their investigation.
I want to thank the Edina Police Department for its efforts.