Carlson’s home diocese is criminally charged with abuse cover up
In a rare move, the Twin Cities Catholic archdiocese – where St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson spent 50 years – is being criminally charged with “a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior committed by the highest levels of leadership over the course of decades,” according to a prosecutor.
Carlson worked in the Twin Cities until 1994 and has been deposed under oath several times about clergy sex abuse and cover up cases there. The investigation is on-going and we hope that Carlson himself will be charged individually.
Carlson was born in Minneapolis, attended Catholic schools, studied at St. Paul Seminary, and ordained to the priesthood there in 1970. He earned a Master’s in Divinity from St. Paul Seminary in 1976, and went on to work as a pastor, a judge on the archdiocesan tribunal, director of the Office of Vocations, and chancellor of the curia in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He was also chaplain at the University of St. Thomas in the Twin Cities.
In 1983, Carlson was appointed auxiliary bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The credit for these charges goes to brave Minnesota victims who have stepped forward and exposed wrongdoing. Their civil lawsuits, police reports and courage has made this happen.
We believe this is the first time in more than a decade that a Catholic diocese has faced criminal charges.
Catholic officials almost always hire expensive lawyers, exploit every technicality and fight bitterly to protect their clerical careers. We predict that will happen here.
So it’s not time for complacency. Every single man and woman has a moral and civic duty to call prosecutors with what they know or suspect about Twin Cities clergy sex crimes or cover ups, no matter how seemingly insignificant or long ago.
The cover ups in the Twin Cities are so widely-documented at this point, we believe prosecutor John Choi had little choice but to pursue the church hierarchy. We’re glad he did. But a charge is not a conviction. So it’s crucial that current and former church staff and members overcome their fears, pick up the phone and call the law, whether they’re victims, witnesses or whistleblowers.