For reasons that remain unexplained, the St. Paul Police Department has decided to reopen a case involving a priest from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who was accused in 2004 of having child porn on his computer. He was investigated for seven months, and when nothing was found, the case was dropped. Now it is being reopened.
The reopening of this case comes on the heels of a public plea by Commander Mary Nash asking anyone who was molested by a priest to come forward. She did not ask if someone had been abused by a rabbi, minister, school teacher, stepfather or police officer—only if it was a priest. Now she is back for a second time, making the same plea. This kind of religious profiling is legally suspect and morally unethical.
In a related matter, there is a curious news story in today’s Star Tribune that cites Commander Nash’s anger with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis regarding a priest, Curtis Wehmeyer, who pleaded guilty to sexual offenses. The story is curious because it is not news—it is simply a rehashing of a story dating back to June 2012. It is hard not to conclude that this “story” is a spin job on the part of the newspaper to make the police look good and the archdiocese look bad. No matter, it has nothing to do with the concerns of the Catholic League in 2013.
Police Chief Tom Smith will not answer questions regarding this issue, so I am going public. His department reportedly has no funds to continue its “cold case” unit—there are several unresolved murders in St. Paul—yet it has the time and money to reopen a non-homicide case against a priest. Something is wrong, and we intend to find out what it is.
To read my November 15 letter to Police Chief Smith, click here. It is being sent to the mayor, city council members and the media in St. Paul.
Contact St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith: Tom.Smith@ci.stpaul.mn.us