Once again, the foes of Archbishop Nienstedt have come up empty: the names of eight priests in the Diocese of New Ulm who were credibly accused of molesting minors were released yesterday (some of the names were previously disclosed), and only one, Father David A. Roney, was there when Nienstedt took office in 2001. Roney was placed on administrative leave without faculties in 2002; in 2003, he was named in two lawsuits.
It took Nienstedt to do what his predecessor, Bishop Raymond Lucker, failed to do. Lucker was Bishop of New Ulm from 1976 to 2000.
Accusations against Roney took place between 1967 and 1980. Father Francis Markey allegedly groped three brothers at their home in New Ulm in 1982. Father Vincent Fitzgerald allegedly abused a boy from a New Ulm parish in the late 1970s. Father William Marks was involved in alleged abuse between 1954 and 1962. Legal proceedings for claims of sexual abuse began in 1993 against Father Michael Skoblik. Father John Gleason died in 1998 (not much public information is available about him). Father Douglas Schleisman was the subject of accusations dating to 1993. Father John Murphy retired in 1991 and volunteered in ministry between 1996 and 2000; he died in 2001.
In most of these cases, the alleged sexual molestation took place under Bishop Lucker, yet he has escaped criticism from the very same people who are now taking aim at Nienstedt. Why? Because Lucker was a man of the left: He said the Catholic Church needed to consider changing its teachings on homosexuality. By contrast, those out to get Nienstedt hate him because he defends the Church’s teachings on sexuality.
The attack on Nienstedt is based on politics, not the quest for justice. More to come on this subject.