Well that’s the case with Archbishop John Nienstedt of Minnesota, who’s now under investigation for “allegations that he had a series of sexual relationships with priests, seminarians and other men.”
I know, you’re stunned.
And, of course, Nienstedt claims that the allegations “are absolutely and entirely false” and has said he’s the one who ordered the investigation.
He also said, “The allegations do not involve minors or lay members of the faithful, and they do not implicate any kind of illegal or criminal behavior. The allegations involve events alleged to have occurred at least a decade ago, before I began serving in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”
It seems that an investigation based on one accusation has revealed much more according to Jennifer Haselberger, former top canon lawyer for Nienstedt, who was interviewed by investigators.
“Based on my interview with Greene Espel, as well as conversations with other interviewees, I believe the investigators have received about ten sworn statements alleging sexual impropriety on the part of the archbishop dating from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit, as Bishop of New Ulm, and while coadjutor/archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis,” Haselberger said.
Nienstedt is also being accused of threatening retaliation against anyone who reported his behavior.
These accusations are especially interesting considering Nienstedt has been an extremely vocal anti-LGBT advocate. He’s often called homosexuality “evil” and has publicly said he considers it a human psychological disorder.
In 2012, Nienstedt launched a massive campaign in Minnesota, committing $650,000 in church funds, trying to get a ban on same-sex marriage passed. It did not work.
Though I find it odd how a church can spend that kind of money on a political issue yet still enjoy their tax exemptions.
While Nienstedt uses the defense that he asked for this investigation (based on one accusation), it seems he might not have expected investigators to stumble across ten other sworn statements alleging inappropriate sexual conduct by the Archdiocese. Not only that, accusations that he threatened to retaliate in some way against some of these accusers if they ever went public with this story.
It never ceases to amaze me just how many extremely vocal anti-LGBT advocates end up being accused of, or caught, having homosexual relationships.