Updated: 10/12/2013 1:01 PM KSTP.com By: Ellen Galles
The Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul is reeling from accusations that one of its high-ranking priests helped cover up a child pornography case. That priest resigned last week, and now the archbishop is calling for a new task force to investigate and respond to sexual misconduct cases.
In a written statement the archbishop said, "There can be no room for misconduct among our clergy, and our standard must be zero tolerance for abuse of minors and vulnerable adults," Archbishop Nienstedt said.
He also released plans for a new task force being put together by Fr. Reginald Whitt, a Dominican priest from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Fr. Whitt will select at least six members, all of them nonclergy. The purpose will be to create policies for preventing, investigating and responding to sexual misconduct.
Some critics say that's not enough. Members of SNAP, a support network for victims abused by priests, gathered outside the cathedral in St. Paul Monday afternoon. Executive Director David Clohessy called the task force a publicity stunt.
"This is the standard PR response by every bishop who's been caught concealing sex crimes," he said.
The new task force will meet before the end of the week.