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STATEMENT: Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Updated: 01/29/2014 3:26 PM
Created: 01/29/2014 3:00 PM KSTP.com
By: Leslie Dyste

Prosecutors in Minnesota declined Wednesday to charge leaders of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis over their handling of an abusive priest, but said the archdiocese needs to do better in its reporting of abuse claims.
    
Ramsey County prosecutor John Choi said there was insufficient evidence to show church leaders failed to properly report suspicions of abuse by the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer, a St. Paul priest accused in 2012 of molesting two brothers.
    
In a separate case, Washington County prosecutors said they would not charge another archdiocese priest, the Rev. Jon Shelley, who had been accused of possessing child pornography. Read the full story here.

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis released the following statement:

"The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is grateful to the Saint Paul Police Department and the Ramsey and Washington County Attorneys’ offices for their thorough investigation and clearing of the archdiocese in cases involving Curtis Wehmeyer and Fr. Jonathan Shelley.

We have a shared interest with all civil authorities and our communities for the protection of
children, and we remain in complete solidarity with both Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Saint Paul Police Department Chief Tom Smith in calling for all victims of any form of abuse to immediately come forward to civil authorities.

In addition, we join Mr. Choi in reminding all mandatory reporters to immediately bring every
accusation of child sexual abuse forward to civil authorities. The archdiocese makes every possible effort to adhere to this law strictly and directs everyone in local Church ministry to do the same. The tens of thousands of clergy, parish and school staff, and volunteers who have attended archdiocesan safe environment training sessions since 2005, or anyone who has visited our web site, have received a consistent message: if you suspect child sexual abuse, immediately contact the county social service agency or police; it is not your role to investigate.

Our web site also has made contacting authorities easy by providing phone numbers for these civil authorities. We agree that reporting must always err on the side of protecting the victim and preventing harm. The archdiocese continues to cooperate with all civil authorities related to any investigation of allegations of sexual abuse. We reiterate what we have stated for many years: we urge anyone who suspects abuse of a minor within Church ministry to first call civil authorities. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual misconduct in Church ministry, you are also encouraged to call the archdiocesan Director of Advocacy and Victim Assistance at 651-291-4497."


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