Brian Roewe, Twin Cities archdiocese reopens case of priest accused of sex abuse, National Catholic Reporter

The St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese has reopened the case of a retired priest accused of sexual abuse in the 1970s it has already twice cleared of sexual misconduct.

The archdiocese announced Friday morning that it had begun reinvestigating an allegation against Fr. William Stolzman, 76, it first received in 2008. The decision came Jan. 14, the same day attorney Jeff Anderson made public Stolzman’s file, along with those of five other priests. Stolzman has been placed on a leave of absence and is restricted from exercising priestly ministry during the investigation.

Director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment Tim O’Malley told NCR that to his knowledge, Stolzman has not had additional allegations brought against him. He added that at this point, no new evidence has surfaced, and the review is part of a process in his office of re-examining old cases that involved children or anything related to misconduct.

“And in my determination, I think this warrants a reinvestigation because with the passage of time, I think we have maybe an opportunity to gather a more complete information than they had back in 2008,” he said.

Attorney Mike Finnegan said Anderson’s firm recommended the Stolzman case be reopened because of several “red flags” beyond the 2008 accusation: possible child pornography in 1997, the investigation by former vicar general Fr. Kevin McDonough, and the fact that the priest was still occasionally celebrating Mass in the area.

Stolzman, who retired in June 2008, was among several priests filling in at the Church of St. Michael in Farmington, Minn., while its pastor has been on sabbatical. Bulletins show him scheduled to preside at Masses on four days since Dec. 14. He was also scheduled for the Jan. 17-18 weekend, but O’Malley said Stolzman did not celebrate Masses those days, adding that the archdiocese contacted parishes where he may have recently celebrated Mass about his current status. PDF: National Catholic Reporter – Twin Cities archdiocese reopens case of priest accused of sex abuse – 2015-01-29