Deadline Extended for List of Priests Accused of Sex Abuse After 2004

Updated: 01/03/2014 5:53 PM By: Megan Stewart

The deadline for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Diocese of Winona to release the list of credibly accused priests since 2004 has been extended to Feb. 5.

The change came after a hearing to determine whether the priests included in the list should be those "credibly accused," where the allegations had been verified by the church, or all those accused.

On Dec. 3, Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North ordered the archdiocese and the diocese to release two sets of names. The first list was 46 names that had been compiled as of 2004.

The second list was set to be released on Jan. 6. It was originally outlined to consist of all names the archdiocese and diocese had learned about since 2004.

On Thursday, the archdiocese and diocese filed letters with the court seeking to clarify the criteria for the second list of names.

The judge suggested a panel be put together by an outside party to review clergy claims of sex abuse.

The judge said he was deliberate in his use of the terms and concluded priests who have been credibly accused should be included in the second list. He said he meant to cast a broad net, for the safety of children and it's a balancing act between protecting victims versus the reputations of priests who are falsely accused.

The archdiocese has placed two active priests on leave following a review of cases by an outside firm.

The archdiocese released a statement following the hearing:

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is pleased that Judge Van de North carefully reviewed and considered the pending motion for clarification of the Court’s Protective Order.

Judge Van de North affirmed his intention that all accusations of sexual abuse of a minor that have been made known to the archdiocese after 2004 should be disclosed to the Court. In doing so, he also considered the reasonable need for potential third-party review of claims that could be false or frivolous. The archdiocese is grateful to the Court for considering the importance of avoiding needless damage to the reputations of clergy members who have been falsely accused.

The archdiocese looks forward to working with the Court and all affected parties to promote the protection of children and the healing of victims as we also address these reasonable concerns.