The St. Louis archbishop embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal testified last month that he didn’t know in the 1980s whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children, according to a court deposition released Monday.
Archbishop Robert Carlson, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the time, was deposed as part of a lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
In a video released by the St. Paul law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, the Catholic archbishop is asked whether he had known it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child.
“I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Carlson responded. “I understand today it’s a crime.”
When asked when he first realized it was a crime for an adult — including priests — to have sex with a child, Carlson, 69, shook his head.
“I don’t remember,” he testified.
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who is representing an alleged clergy abuse victim, also released documents Monday indicating Carlson was aware in 1984 of the seriousness of child abuse allegations. He wrote to then-Archbishop John Roach that parents of one of the alleged victims was planning to go to police.
Carlson’s role at the time was to investigate abuse claims. He admitted in his deposition that he never personally went to police, even when a a clergy member admitted to inappropriate behavior.
In last month’s testimony, Carlson responded 193 times that he did not recall abuse-related conversations from the 1980s to mid-1990s.
Anderson provided a report from a previous deposition in 1987 in which now-deceased Bishop Loras Watters said he advised Carlson to answer “I don’t remember” if questioned in court.
Carlson responded last month that he had “no knowledge of the discussion.”
Carlson left the Twin Cities in 1994, and eventually became St. Louis archbishop in 2009.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis said in a statement Monday that Carlson had given testimony “several times many years ago” about the same allegations, according to NBC affiliate KSDK.
“In this most recent deposition, while not being able to recall his knowledge of the law exactly as it was many decades ago, the Archbishop did make clear that he knows child sex abuse is a crime today,” the statement said. “The question does not address the Archbishop’s moral stance on the sin of pedophilia, which has been that it is a most egregious offense.”
The trial against the Twin Cities archdiocese is slated to begin in September.
Tom Gannam / AP file
Archbishop-designate Robert Carlson speaks at the press conference to announce his appointment to the Archdiocese of Saint Louis on April 21, 2009, in St. Louis.
First published June 10th 2014, 10:28 am
Pat, I know this is rather a pet theme of mine (and not just mine, I think), but why hasn't someone gone all RICO on these perps' sorry asses? Just a case of no guts or what?
I brought the RICO statute up in another discussion back in 2013. Unfortunately, those in the US Justice Dept. do not have the intestinal fortitude to use it. And, I would add, I doubt they ever will.
Here's my take on it. President Obama's Justice Dept. under Eric Holder files against the Catholic Church on the basis of RICO. Every right wing conspiracy nut on the planet (including FOX News) claims the Muslim, Kenyan born President is attacking Christianity. The likes of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin come out of the termite infested woodwork where they reside and go all over national TV to promote the Tea Baggers and their favorite theme - Christian Persecution. Yeah, them and the Muslims!
Or, the current administration leaves it alone, and avoids the controversy, and headline news.
Either way, the child rapist, pederasts wearing a Roman Collar win.
After all, one must respect religious beliefs. Right?
Respect religious beliefs? Someone else might. Us? I don't think so ... for what it's worth.
Unfortunately, this does sound like a valid scenario for the world in which we live. Strange that I once thought Europeans to be backward to the progressive Americans. When did this change?
Pat, I see how Obama's administration is hogtied; it doesn't matter which way they choose, 1. go for prosecution and be anti-christian; 2. don't go for prosecution and be protector of christian hypocrites.
With Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, do rape victims testify in support of the charges? Obviously, the alleged perpetrator of the crime and those who protect him, if found guilty, are guilty of crime and coverup. Has it ever happened?
Joan, the focus of a RICO prosecution is the conspiracy to cover up the criminal conduct. Now, before there can be a prosecution for conspiracy, there has to be either the criminal conduct, or an attempt to commit a crime. In the case of the RCC, it would have to be established that either a rape was committed, or an agreement to commit an offense and a substantial step taken toward the commission of the offense. Once it is proven the crime has been committed, say for instance by a conviction in a separate prosecution or by testimony in the case itself, the RICO prosecution must prove a criminal conspiracy to commit the crime or to cover up the crime and protect the perpetrator.
With respect to rape, I honestly don't know if there has ever been a successful RICO prosecution. My guess is probably not.
Loren, individuals have brought up this kind of crime or complained out loud when they have been victims. Rape victims, male and female, pay a terrible price for speaking out. Character assassination is the first thing to demoralize the resistor. He or she caused the rape! He or she did the wrong thing or dressed inappropriately. This is the classic case of blaming the victim, as Luara pointed out some topics ago.
It takes a strong personality to withstand the taunts. Remember the character assassination that young high school students suffered for speaking up against the "under god" part of the pledge. How many high school students would have that kind of courage?
Even when victims find each other and act as a group, the hate-mongering dulls the enthusiasm for others to step forward.
Joan, hiding in the past may have been the pattern, but that pattern is being broken as we speak. The truth is coming out and, while the powers-that-be may protest and resist, the momentum of truth continues on.
What's that old phrase? Oh, yeah: Lead, Follow, or Get Out Of The Way!
I like it!