Vatican Investigation Claims St. Paul Archbishop Nienstedt Did Not Commit a Crime, Allows Him to Work in Other Locations

Vatican & Archdiocese Keep All Documents & Details of Investigations Hidden from Public

(St. Paul, MN) – Today, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a statement regarding internal investigations against former Archbishop John Nienstedt. In the statement, the Archdiocese states that Nienstedt did not commit a canonical delict (crime). The Archdiocese stated that while Nienstedt cannot work in the province of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, he can work in ministry in other locations.

Excerpt from the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis Statement:

While none of these instances, either standing alone or taken together, were determined to warrant any further investigation or penal sanctions, it was determined by Pope Francis that the following administrative actions are justified:  

  1.  Archbishop Nienstedt may not exercise any public ministries in the Province of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (the Province covers all of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota).
  2. He may not reside in the Province of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. 
  3. He may not exercise ministry in any way outside of his diocese of residence without the express

authorization of the attendant Ordinary and only after the Dicastery for Bishops has been informed.

 What the statement and the Vatican overlook here is the fact that under the leadership of Nienstedt, Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer, a priest who worked in multiple parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, sexually abused multiple minors for years. Wehmeyer was finally arrested in 2012 on charges of criminal sexual conduct after a woman reported to police that the priest molested her 12-year-old son in the summer of 2010. Nienstedt was in the middle of the Wehmeyer case.

On June 5, 2015, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi criminally charged the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for its role in “failing to protect children and contribution to the unspeakable harm” done to the victims of Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer. Nienstedt resigned from his position in 2015.

The sad truth is that the cover-up here continues – all the evidence the Archdiocese and the Vatican have about Nienstedt’s “imprudent” actions should be made public. And given Nienstedt’s role in the Wehmeyer case he shouldn’t be allowed to work in any diocese.