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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Archdiocese releases names of 30 priests ‘credibly accused’

  • The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released 30 names of priests identified on a list of clergy who have been credibly accused of abusing minors. The list was made public Thursday, Dec. 5.
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  • Louis Heitzer, associate priest and pastor at several parishes of the New Ulm Diocese, and Rudolph Henrich, pastor of a parish also in the New Ulm Diocese, are two priests among 30 identified on a list of clergy who have been credibly accused of abusing boys and girls, a list that was made public Thursday, Dec. 5 by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis after it had been kept secret for nearly a decade.
     
    Both Heitzer and Henrich are deceased and were permanently removed from the ministry.
     
    The publication of the list came after a court order. Judge John B. Van de North, Jr. ordered the disclosure recently in a St. Paul court.
     
    All but one of the priests named Dec. 5 were originally identified in a church document created in 2004, listing 33 priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse over several decades.
     
    The issue of child sexual abuse and other misconduct by local priests erupted this year when Nienstedt’s top canon lawyer, Jennifer Haselberger, went to the Ramsey County attorney’s office with allegations against the archdiocese relating to child endangerment in the Wehmeyer case and alleged child pornography that was found on another priest’s computer.
     
    Archbishop John Nienstedt, in a written statement Dec. 5, said more names will be added and put on the archdiocese’s website if additional claims are substantiated.
     
    The list was published in the online edition of The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocesan newspaper, in response to ongoing litigation of childhood sexual abuse cases in Ramsey County against the church and individual priests.
    Thursday’s list from Nienstedt includes the names of 30 priests “with credible claims against them” and another four priests with “unsubstantiated claims.”
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