St. Louis Archbishop Didn’t Know Sex With Children Was a Crime

St. Louis Archbishop Didn’t Know Sex With Children Was a Crime

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.

— Erik Ortiz

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4 comments on “St. Louis Archbishop Didn’t Know Sex With Children Was a Crime

  1. I’m glad that Bill and the Deac straightened this out. Clergy can be forgiven for not knowing that man-boy rape is a reportable crime. You didn’t call the cops. You called a parish at the other end of the diocese and told them to make room for new vicar.

    The majority of our bishops are either queers or queer sympathizers. Wake up, Bill and Greg. Carlson wasn’t qualified to be a priest if he didn’t know to call the cops.

    • Way to go, Phil. Phil is 100% when covering pro-life and the lavender mafia. But he won’t look eastward. Even when Benedict appointed fag-shuffler and whistleblower-punisher Levada to the CDF, Phil laid off after his initial editorial blasting the decision.

  2. This is the steaming cow pie that just won’t dry up and blow away, isn’t it? In fact, the more the sunlight beats on it, the smellier it becomes and the more flies it attracts.

    Randy Engel’s herculean investigations name names (which manages to outrage even hardcore traditionalists) going back to the nineteenth century. And not a few of those names will stun even the most optimistic, pious souls.

    There is absolutely no safe place, even within supposedly holy precincts, while we are in this life.

  3. Josefa on said:

    I don’t think Jerry Sandusky or Jimmy Saville thought it was much of a crime , either.
    Spiritual sickness of the pederast variety is a rather blinding phenom…

    Too bad so many of them rise to the top ( of everything)

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