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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • John Nienstedt takes leave of absence, accused of abuse

  • John Nienstedt, Archbishop of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese is taking a voluntary leave of absence after being accused of inappropriately touching a boy, the archdiocese announced on Tuesday.
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  • John Nienstedt, Archbishop of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese is taking a voluntary leave of absence after being accused of inappropriately touching a boy, the archdiocese announced on Tuesday. Nienstedt denies the allegations, but is removing himself from ministry pending an investigation.
    The archdiocese says in a statement released Tuesday afternoon that the incident allegedly occurred in 2009 during a group photography session with the archbishop following a confirmation ceremony. Nienstedt is accused of inappropriately touching an underage male on the buttocks during the group photography session.
    The archdiocese learned of the alligation last week and instructed the person who brought it forward to go to the police.
    In a letter posted Tuesday on the archdiocese website, Nienstedt says the allegation is false.
    "I presume he is sincere in believing what he claims, but I must say that this allegation is absolutely and entirely false. I have never once engaged in any inappropriate contact with a minor and I have tried to the very best of my ability to serve this Archdiocese and the church faithfully, with honor and due regard for the rights of all, even those with whom I disagree."
    Nienstedt continued, "I have met victims and I know the lasting damage that such abuse causes."
    He goes on to say he hopes the investigation will be thorough, but quick so he can return to public ministry.
    Nienstedt's decision to take a temporary leave of absence was made after consulting with the Pope's U.S. ambassador, the archdiocese said in a statement.
    For a related story on the Diocese of New Ulm being named in a lawsuit seeking the release of names go to Top Stories.

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