Priest sexual misconduct task force to be named today

A University of St. Thomas law professor will announce at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday the names of members appointed to a new task force on clergy sexual misconduct.

Archbishop John Nienstedt named the Rev. Reginald Whitt to select the members of the Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards Task Force.

Whitt will meet with reporters at the Leamington company offices in Minneapolis, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Task force member Brian Short, CEO of Leamington, will speak about the scope and mission of the task force, the archdiocese said.

The archdiocese said Monday that it was creating the task force in response to “serious allegations … concerning certain priests in this Archdiocese and the handling of cases by archdiocesan officials.”

One of those is the Rev. Jonathan Shelley, who owned a computer in 2004 that was later found to have pornographic images on it. Shelley, 52, was the priest at St. Jude of the Lake in Mahtomedi at the time.

St. Paul police closed an investigation last week, saying they had not found images of child pornography. They announced Tuesday that they had reopened the investigation with new evidence.

Shelley has not been charged.

The mission of the new task force is to “review any and all issues related to clergy sexual misconduct and to make specific recommendations regarding actions to be taken and policies and procedures to be implemented,” the archdiocese said Sunday.

Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522. Follow her at