Stridently Anti-Gay Minnesota Archbishop Investigated for "Inappropriate Sexual Conduct" With Men

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 2 2014 5:52 PM

Stridently Anti-Gay Minnesota Archbishop Investigated for "Inappropriate Sexual Conduct" With Men

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Nienstedt in 2002.

REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Catholic archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis is not merely a figure who defends anti-gay ideas on the level of institutional doctrine—theatrical anti-gay stunts are a significant part of his public persona. From the site Towleroad:

Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt, the guy who spearheaded a mass mailing in 2010 of 400,000 anti-gay DVDs, and created a special "marriage prayer" which he asked the state's Catholics to recite during Mass in an effort to create support for the anti-gay amendment on Minnesota's ballot in November, also told the mother of a gay son that she should reject him or risk burning in hell, according to a recently-surfaced letter.
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(The letter didn't use the phrase "burning in hell," but it did tell the mother that her "eternal salvation" depended on condemning her son.)

The magazine's source is a former church lawyer named Jennifer Haselberger, who resigned in 2013 to protest the decision—made by Nienstedt, among others—to allow a priest with known sexual inappropriateness issues to lead a parish. (That priest was subsequently arrested and jailed for child sexual abuse that occurred well after his past misbehavior had been made known to church officials.) Haselberger says she was recently contacted by outside lawyers contracted by the archdiocese to investigate Nienstedt, and that their investigation has turned up ten witnesses who accuse Nienstedt of inappropriate sexual behavior and of "retaliating against those who refused his advances or otherwise questioned his conduct."

In a separate case, Nienstedt has been acused of groping a boy during a group photo shoot in 2009.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

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