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New Ulm Diocese still resisting release of priest names

The New Ulm Diocese can’t quite get its head around why it should release a list of problem priests. Elizabeth Baier of MPR reports: “During a hearing on Monday, officials from the Diocese of New Ulm told the judge that the list should remain secret. They moved to dismiss a nuisance claim that demands the diocese disclose the names. In a statement, diocese officials said two of the people named on the list believe the sexual abuse allegations made against them are false and their names should therefore not be made public.” And how would that play in your average criminal proceeding?

So no more MRIs for hangnails? The Strib’s Jeremy Olson says: “A novel strategy that has saved Minnesota millions of dollars in unnecessary medical-imaging scans — and probably prevented dozens of patient deaths — might soon go national. Leaders from Minnesota’s medical and insurance communities met Monday morning to celebrate the project — which has leveled off the skyrocketing growth of MRI and CT scans for back pain, headaches and other problems.”

Say what you will, Chris Kluwe is up for a brawl. Ben Goessling of ESPN reports: “[Kluwe] has retained Minneapolis attorney Clayton Halunen to represent him in the Vikings’ internal investigation, Halunen’s law firm announced on Monday. Halunen will serve as co-counsel with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, according to a statement released by the firm.”

MNsure’s problems will get official attention. At the PiPress, Christopher Snowbeck says: “Minnesota’s legislative auditor said Monday that probes are needed to detail all the problems at MNsure and to find out why troubles that blocked people from getting health insurance weren’t identified more quickly. … The federal government has backed MNsure with about $150 million in grants, including about $70 million spent during the 12-month period that ended in June, Nobles said. The size of the expenditure last year automatically triggers an audit, Nobles said, adding that the review is scheduled to begin Tuesday.”

It’s just embarrassing when any big operation in Minnesota isn’t prepared for winter. The AP says: “The Minnesota Department of Health said Monday it will suspend most lab operations for at least two days after a heating system failure caused an estimated $1 million or more in damage. The department said the failure happened early Monday, causing some building systems to freeze and water to leak on several floors.”

The GleanSpeaking of Embarrass … Dan Kraker of MPR checked in: “Every morning for the past quarter century, Roland Fowler, a trained weather spotter for the National Weather Service, has walked outside of his cozy wood-heated home to check a box full of thermometers. … Monday’s recorded low of 37 below turned out to be relatively balmy. Still, the day’s biting temperatures were as cold as advertised in Embarrass and across Minnesota. Brimson and Babbitt recorded the low for the day at minus 40 degrees.” Brimson … home of Hugo’s Bar.

KARE-TV’s Boyd Huppert always delivers good copy. Up in Ely for the polar vortex, he says: “Residents of Ely woke up to a temperature of 33 degrees below zero. By mid-morning the wind-chill was 51 below. That was cold enough to freeze solid the lock on the front door of the electronics business where Jake McCulskey works. … Half-a-block away drivers of diesel pick-ups pulled into one of the few stations that could still pump the fuel. Other stations bagged their nozzles, but John Byerly was still able coax a small stream out of the pumps at Tony’s Service … ‘It’s a lot thicker, so it’s running like molasses,’ he said. ‘It’s hard just to get it up out of the ground.’ “

And while we’re at it, someone really needs to toughen up. At the mediaite site, Evan McMurry writes: “Boasting that they had sent a ‘California girl’ to the depths of the polar vortex on Monday, CNN repeatedly made correspondent Stephanie Elam trudge onto the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis … to report first-hand on the ‘historic and life threatening’ cold enveloping the central states. … the Los Angeles-based Elam bundled up at noon to report that:

  • It’s so cold crime is going down.

  • It’s so cold her cup of boiling hot water turned into a snowball in the time of her segment.

  • It’s so cold that authorities are ‘saying make sure you don’t go anywhere’ like the banks of the Mississippi.” But it’s not so cold you can’t dip into the Aster Cafe for a nice cozy expense account lunch.

R.T. Rybak update … Steve Brandt of the Strib says: “Former Mayor R.T. Rybak was in good condition after a procedure Monday afternoon to clear an artery, according to a spokeswoman at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Gloria O’Connell said the procedure took about an hour … She said she did not have information to release on whether Rybak’s heart was damaged by Saturday’s heart attack.”

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/07/2014 - 07:49 am.

    There is No Doubt

    That the Catholic Church has dealt in ways which were damaging and destructive to victims, to Priests, and to the church itself, when it came to the small minority of Priests prone to abuse parishioners,…

    but, the amount of money paid out to victims and their lawyers in a “legal” system where the claims of “victims” are generally presumed to be true, even without any evidence to support those claims, even with ample evidence to contradict those claims,…

    means that, in at least a few cases, there have been false claims made against not only Catholic Priests but also clergy of other denominations, in the interest of a big financial payout, for people desperate or dishonest enough to make such false allegations.

    Too often, when it comes to the area of clergy accused of sexual misconduct, “innocent until proven guilty” does not exist, especially in the eyes of the public.

    In the case of these Priests in the New Ulm diocese who allege that they have been falsely accused of sexual misconduct, those names should be given to law enforcement for investigation,…

    but if that has already been done, and no charges resulted because there was no evidence that misconduct had actually occurred, or evidence to contradict what was alleged, the priests who were, indeed, falsely accused have every right to be excluded from a list of priests accused of misconduct.

    Even if they are innocent, appearing on such a list would paint them with exactly the same brush the public and the press paint every Priest or clergy person against whom such allegations have been made.

    Of course if the allegations against these priests have never been independently investigated, the Diocese is required by law to give their names to law enforcement for that purpose.

  2. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 01/07/2014 - 09:26 am.

    If there is a problem it is the church’s fault

    The lists exist because for many years the church acted as if it was above the law. The “investigated” charges of child sexual abuse and reassigned priests who were “credibly accused”. If they had promptly reported all accusations to the police like they are supposed to do they wouldn’t have to maintain lists. Concepts of innocent and guilty apply to the court of law. By circumventing the legal process the church, by its actions, has negated that principle. Since all or almost all of the priests on these lists would claim innocence whether the are guilty or innocent, then that claim should not be a reason to be excluded from the list.

    Greg, your last paragraph may sound good but turning names over to the police for charges that were buried 20 years ago seems pointless. All the evidence is long gone or buried somewhere where the church can hide it. By publicizing all the names it increases the chance that another accuser will come forward to testify against one of these child molesters. The church wouldn’t protect hundreds and thousands of “victims” (your quotes) but now wants to protect a possible few innocent priests. I say too bad for the priests. Let an informed public sort it out.

    I think a useful course would be to start prosecuting every church member who heard about specific allegations and didn’t report them to civil authorites. You might get the priests out of the parishes but that doesn’t get the corruption out of the church.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/07/2014 - 10:33 am.

      If Only

      The “informed public” to which you refer actually existed.

      • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 01/07/2014 - 11:51 am.

        you’re right…

        It’s hard to find a truly informed public when the church has spent 50 years hiding information related to priest sexual abuse. If the public is ignorant, it is with the help of the church leaders. Thanks for pointing that out.

        • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/07/2014 - 02:27 pm.

          I Feared That’s Where You’d Go

          in response to my comment.

          The issues I was not very effectively trying to raise are, first, the general level of ignorance of the public regarding issues surrounding what sexual abuse even is, and second, the way the public has been programmed to believe that no one would ever try to make money by making false allegations, and/or get rid of a Priest by accusing him of abuse.

          Very much as in the case of “recovered memory syndrome,” now thoroughly debunked, but at one time the cause of tremendous damage to many families and children, the idea has been thoroughly implanted in the minds of the public that there’s no such thing as a false allegation. Even in your own comments, you assume that the Priests who claim their innocence cannot possibly be telling the truth, and thus DESERVE to have their names published and be forever seen as abusers.

          In this particular area we have a seriously MISinformed public who, because of the suspicion directed toward anyone who seeks to point out that so much of what the public has been led to believe is not accurate, is likely to remain seriously misinformed and make mistaken judgments and bad decisions based on that misinformation,…

          judgments and decisions which cause those who have been abused to see themselves as permanently, inescapably, irreparably soiled and damaged by that abuse, and cause anyone who has been accused of such abuse to be seen as guilty, without any investigation whatsoever (and regardless of the outcome of any investigation).

          None of which is to say that the Catholic Church has not been despicable in its handling of the victims of abusive priests, especially in maintaining the theological view that those who engage in homosexual acts were headed for hell when in far too many cases, it was a Priest who was encouraging a youngster to engage in those very acts,…

          and in hiding the abuse being perpetrated by its Priests,…

          and maintaining its denial of how the “celibate” priesthood tended to offer men with tendencies toward pedophilia an (unconscious?) opportunity to pursue them and offer men with homosexual feelings a convenient way to ignore them since, as priests, they would expect never have sex with anyone at all (which, far too often, didn’t turn out to be the case),…

          but, in the end, just to say that, despite all that, not every Priest who has been accused is guilty.

      • Submitted by Bob Schwiderski on 01/07/2014 - 03:49 pm.


        Rev Greg Kapphahn — there is not one identified event of a top catholic church official standing at the pulpit and reaching out to those in the church/parish that may have been harmed by a known abusive cleric that was assigned to that church. Informed, I know they are not.

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