Ex-Archbishop Harry Flynn Can't Recall Handling of Abuse Cases

Updated: 06/05/2014 7:51 AM
Created: 06/04/2014 3:08 PM

A newly released deposition shows retired Twin Cities Archbishop Harry Flynn said he could not remember how he handled clergy sex abuse cases during his 13-year tenure.
Under oath last month, Flynn said at least 134 times that he could not recall how he handled the cases.
Flynn, who is now 81, retired six years ago. He admittedly has health problems, but said he didn't have dementia or other diagnosed memory problems.
The former Archbishop said he did not report any accusations of child sexual abuse to police and doesn't recall asking anyone else to report abuse claims, either.

As Archbishop, it was his responsibility to protect children in the diocese. The attorney representing people suing priests can be heard asking pointed questions about secret payments made to catholic clergy even after they left the diocese.

Flynn defended the special payouts. "I did that and I did it for others because I feel strong they would not be able to get jobs very easily so I wanted to give them some help," Flynn said.

When asked how many priests received help and the amount of help, Flynn couldn't remember.  Attorney's didn't stop there, "what message do you think that sends to victims abused, that priests are receiving payments, hearing that as a victim? I don't know, but what message would we be sending if we put people in the street without any assistance?"
Flynn testified as part of a lawsuit filed in 2013, by a man who says he was sexually abused by a former priest decades ago.
The Archdiocese posted the deposition on its website, calling it court-ordered testimony that speaks for itself.

Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, released the following statement:

"We hope that the obvious deceit and duplicitous shown by Archbishop Harry Flynn in his just-released deposition will prod police and prosecutors to more vigorously pursue corrupt Catholic officials in the Twin Cities." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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