Priest Calls Allegations of Clergy Misconduct 'Sickening'

Updated: 10/12/2013 12:57 PM By: Cassie Hart

A priest appointed to create a task force to review policies dealing with sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says recent allegations of clergy misconduct are "sickening."
The Rev. Reginald Whitt put together a task force of six lay people to review how church officials have handled accusations of priest misconduct. The task force was convened after one priest pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct last year and another was accused of having child pornography.
Members of the group include Catholics and non-Catholics, as well as lawyers and a former officer. The group plans to come up with a report and recommendations for church officials to follow.

One member of the the new task force, Brian Short, a Minneapolis businessman and lawyer, promises the group will not sweep anything under the rug.  "If people are looking for a white wash I know one member of the task force who will be handing in his resignation very promptly," Short told reporters at a news conference at the Leamington Company, where he is CEO.  "Talking to Father Whitt and others, that's the last thing anyone wants.

Critics say it won't make a difference because the problem is the behavior of church officials, not policies.

David Clohessy, a spokesman for SNAP, the "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests," says he has no confidence the task force will have any impact.  He says it's common for bishops to appoint groups like this to investigate only to have their findings ignored or set aside.

Click here to read about the role and details of the task force.

Click here to read about the standards of the task force.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.