ST. PAUL (AP) — The former top deputy at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis suggested last fall that Archbishop John Nienstedt consider resigning in light of a clergy sex abuse scandal, according to a deposition released Wednesday.
The Rev. Peter Laird resigned as the archdiocese’s vicar general in October. According to Laird’s court deposition, he also suggested the resignation option to Nienstedt twice as the archdiocese struggled to respond to allegations that it mishandled clergy accused of abusing children.
“I think leaders have a responsibility to be accountable for decisions whenever they take place in an organization and, and to signal trust … and that the archdiocese doesn’t have anything to hide,” Laird said in his May 12 deposition.
Laird said Nienstedt did not respond to his recommendation, or to his other suggestions that the archdiocese allow an outside review of its priests’ files and create a archdiocese/community task force to review its work, the Star Tribune reported.
The archdiocese said it was not commenting on Laird’s deposition, saying it stood on its own. The archdiocese posted the deposition on its website.
It joins depositions by Nienstedt and former Vicar General Kevin McDonough that have been made public. They come in response to a lawsuit filed in 2013 on behalf of a man who claimed he was abused decades earlier.
Laird resigned Oct. 3, the day allegations emerged in a court hearing that church officials knew a priest had been in possession of child pornography but continued to assign him to parish duties that brought him into contact with children. An archdiocese spokesman said at the time that Laird’s resignation had nothing to do with the case.
Nienstedt has said he does not believe any priests or church leaders mishandled allegations of abuse.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com