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Archdiocese hid names of 7 priests ‘credibly accused’ of abusing minors

Petters’ appeal ends with stinging rebuke; U’s Markingson case to get another look; Wells Fargo sign battle; a GOP challenger for Kline; Nursing Board seeks new laws; and more.

MinnPost photo by Rita Kovtun

For MPR, Madeleine Baran writes: “The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis acknowledged Thursday that it had kept secret for decades the names of at least seven Catholic priests it considers credibly accused of sexually abusing children. Archbishop John Nienstedt revealed the names on a list of 34 priests posted to an archdiocese website. The names are from a list the archdiocese created in 2009 of priests accused of child sexual abuse. … The public naming of the seven priests kept hidden by the archdiocese now raises the possibility of police investigations and further lawsuits. It also calls into question the archdiocese’s previous statements. Church officials have long argued that the public didn’t need to see the names because most of the priests were either dead, falsely accused or already well known.”

Sorry, Tommy … Dave Phelps of the Strib tells us: “The criminal case against Tom Petters ended Thursday with a resounding rebuke of his character, honesty and credibility as his motion for a reduced prison sentence was denied. In a 22-page order, U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle said the 50-year sentence meted out to Petters for his role in a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme was appropriate and that his highly experienced defense team provided capable counsel during his case. ‘Petters’ last-ditch attempt to escape just punishment for his crimes does not hold water; he received constitutionally effective counsel and his sentence was not unlawful,’ said Kyle, who presided at the original trial. ‘He is entitled to neither relief nor sympathy from this court.’ … ‘Staring into an abyss of nearly 15,000 days of incarceration, Petters has tried to pull off one final con,’ Kyle said of Petters’ attempt for a lesser sentence.”

The Dan Markingson suicide case is getting another push at the U of M. Jeremy Olson of the Strib reports: “Nearly a decade after Dan Markingson died by suicide while participating in a U of M drug trial for schizophrenics, the U’s Faculty Senate raised his death as a reason to re-examine their institution’s handling of vulnerable research subjects. At a meeting Thursday, the senate voted 67-23 to ask the university for a review of how the university recruits and protects people in clinical trials. Questions have emerged in recent years about whether U psychiatry researchers coerced the young, delusional Markingson into a drug study that he didn’t fully understand and his mother didn’t want for him. Most recently, a petition by more than 180 leading researchers and ethicists asked the university to review its conduct.”

MinnPost’s Susan Perry writes about the faculty vote here. At MPR, Alex Friedrich says: “[U of M President Eric] Kaler says he welcomes the review, saying it would put to rest any doubts over how the U handles people in clinical research. ‘Let’s look at what we’re doing now, currently. I have a great deal of confidence in what we’re doing, and I think an external validation of that — which is what I expect it to be — will close the chapters.’ Kaler said he will form the panel early next year. Carl Elliott, who has been one of the main scholars raising questions — and who has called for an outside investigation into Markingson’s death — says he’s trying to stay optimistic: ‘It all depends on who picks the panel, what they’re allowed to look at, and what kind of access and power they have to get at records, to get at court documents, to get at finances, to interview people who have been involved in clinical care as patients and research subjects that were in the department of psychiatry. All that stuff is going to be important .. for whoever sets up this panel to make sure they’re given the tools and expertise to do their job’.”

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On his blog, the Periodic Table, U of M prof Bill Gleason posts the official resolution: “[A]s the FCC [Faculty Consultative Committee] studied this issue, two things became clear: that the Markingson tragedy specifically had been investigated several times from different perspectives, and that those investigations did not address the broader question of whether the University’s current policies, procedures and practices, some of them changed since the Markingson case, reflect both best practices in clinical research on human subjects and the faculty’s high ambitions for ethical behavior. Members of the FCC also recognize that external evaluations can have the advantage of fresh perspectives not biased by familiarity with current practice, and are a way for the public to have the utmost confidence in the integrity of the research conducted at the University of Minnesota.”

More from Stribber Eric Roper on the signage battle around Minneapolis’ soon-to-be-made-over East End: “[T]he expected owner of the new office buildings, Wells Fargo, is demanding bright logos atop the buildings that would be visible during football game aerial shots. The signs would require a change in the zoning code and are fiercely opposed by the Vikings, who say the signs could hurt their efforts to sell naming rights on the stadium. ‘It’s an important issue for Wells Fargo that has to be resolved before they’ll make a final commitment to moving forward,’ Ryan Vice President Rick Collins said Thursday. Outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak, the city’s face on the project, supports Wells Fargo’s request. … Council Member Cam Gordon, during a committee meeting Thursday, said the park must serve the city’s youth rather than merely become a ‘lawn for the wealthy.’ ” Exactly, a “People’s Lawn.”

A GOP primary challenge? Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says: “Next week, Republican David Gerson will kick off his 2014 campaign against Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline. … Gerson is starting earlier and has already spoken at local Republican groups, made thousands of calls to activists and primary voters, he said. He also has Marianne Stebbins, who coordinated presidential candidate Ron Paul’s well organized Minnesota campaign last year, as his campaign co-chair. ‘We are very confident that we are going to be taking the endorsement,’ he said. ‘We are the Republican Party.’ ” How much will for-profit college corporations dump on that race?

Better than fighting it … . Brandon Stahl of the Strib says: “The Minnesota Board of Nursing voted Thursday to support several legislative changes that it said would strengthen its ability to discipline nurses. The votes came following discussions of Star Tribune stories that have revealed how the Nursing Board has given numerous chances to nurses who have harmed patients, stolen drugs, or lied about their histories. … meeting for the first time since the newspaper series began publication in October, the board focused its efforts on seeking new laws.”

And if they need any ideas of what to do with that budget surplus … Ali Killam of KTTC-TV reports: “On their last leg of the Build Minnesota tour, senators have now heard about more than 100 projects throughout the state. ‘We have a tremendous number of requests, upwards of $4 billion in requests from the state of Minnesota …’ said Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester. Twenty of those projects seeking funding can be found in southeast Minnesota. State legislators stopped by the popular tourist site, Lanesboro Dam. Representatives from Air’s Associates say the dam needs about $1 million in funding for repairs, or it faces removal. Senators then made their way over to the Lanesboro Hatchery, which needs funding for building renovations.  The tour then visited the Chatfield Center for the Arts, asking for nearly $8 million in structural improvements to help build on its growing popularity.” BTW … my driveway is a cracked, oil-stained mess in need of replacement.

If he left, would we put Christian Ponder’s picture up on the side of the new super stadium? At ESPN, Ben Goessling writes: “Adrian Peterson is signed through 2017 with the Minnesota Vikings, meaning the reigning NFL MVP is scheduled to play out the rest of his prime for the team that drafted him in 2007. And while Peterson says he’d like to spend his entire career in Minnesota, he admitted Wednesday in an ESPN Radio interview that he has also thought about what it would be like to play for another team — namely, one in his home state of Texas. ‘You know, I’d be a liar if I said it’s something that hasn’t crossed my mind before,’ Peterson said.” Call the Cowboys and see if they’ll give us 12 draft choices.