The St. Louis archbishop embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal testified last month that he didn’t know in the 1980s whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children, according to a court deposition released Monday.
Archbishop Robert Carlson, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the time, was deposed as part of a lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
In a video released by the St. Paul law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, the Catholic archbishop is asked whether he had known it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child.
“I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Carlson responded. “I understand today it’s a crime.”
When asked when he first realized it was a crime for an adult — including priests — to have sex with a child, Carlson, 69, shook his head.
“I don’t remember,” he testified.
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who is representing an alleged clergy abuse victim, also released documents Monday indicating Carlson was aware in 1984 of the seriousness of child abuse allegations. He wrote to then-Archbishop John Roach that parents of one of the alleged victims was planning to go to police.
Carlson’s role at the time was to investigate abuse claims. He admitted in his deposition that he never personally went to police, even when a a clergy member admitted to inappropriate behavior.
In last month’s testimony, Carlson responded 193 times that he did not recall abuse-related conversations from the 1980s to mid-1990s.
Anderson provided a report from a previous deposition in 1987 in which now-deceased Bishop Loras Watters said he advised Carlson to answer “I don’t remember” if questioned in court.
Carlson responded last month that he had “no knowledge of the discussion.”
Carlson left the Twin Cities in 1994, and eventually became St. Louis archbishop in 2009.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis said in a statement Monday that Carlson had given testimony “several times many years ago” about the same allegations, according to NBC affiliate KSDK.
“In this most recent deposition, while not being able to recall his knowledge of the law exactly as it was many decades ago, the Archbishop did make clear that he knows child sex abuse is a crime today,” the statement said. “The question does not address the Archbishop’s moral stance on the sin of pedophilia, which has been that it is a most egregious offense.”
The trial against the Twin Cities archdiocese is slated to begin in September.
Tom Gannam / AP file
Archbishop-designate Robert Carlson speaks at the press conference to announce his appointment to the Archdiocese of Saint Louis on April 21, 2009, in St. Louis.
First published June 10th 2014, 10:28 am
Well isn't that ignorant bullsh*t?!
If asked if having sex with a child is a crime, I don't know; I certainly would take action to see that it was a crime if not already on the books.
I do know that it is an immoral, exploitive, manipulative act and one that could seriously psychologically hinder healthy development of the child. Any priest, bishop, or pope has an obligation to address it is a crime, including taking legal action against the offender.
What? priests, bishops and popes don't take legal action to hold offenders accountable? They don't take steps to see that it doesn't happen again?
Well! the buck stops at the pope's position and all should be charged with a crime!
Declare the Catholic Church to be a criminal organization and go all RICO on them. That'll get someone's attention, when they start losing real estate to cover treble damages.
So much for the morals of those people. But perhaps there's something to defend him: I often tried to find texts in that bible for the protection of children, and as far as I know there is nothing. In the religious view children, just like women, belong to the cattle, to be used as thought fit by males,
But not in this day & age......no defense regarding an old ridiculous book.
Of course not! I wrote that just to illustrate how twisted those people are - and they claim to be the best example of moral behaviour!
Chris, that is an interesting thought, bible text for protection of children. I will start to look, too. I think you are correct. I have read the bible cover to cover and didn't notice.
I started to look for it when I realized how bad things were in my parents' family. The one thing I found was the remark that a father wouldn't give his son a stone when the child asked for bread.
We all know about "honor thy father and thy mother," but I've never heard anything about: "parents, honor your children." Once again, the bible is not and has never been about RIGHTS but almost entirely about OBLIGATIONS to those in authority. When you think about it, those obligations are primarily aimed at PROTECTING those authorities and insuring their position is unmolested.
The bible is about rights and protections in no meaningful manner whatsoever. It never has been.
It's very plain to me that we make our own morality. God has nothing to do with it. Often we lie and fein ignorance to avoid legal matters. This is how we are.
I'm reminded of the new Seth McFarlane western comedy "A Million Ways To Die In The West," in which a young man is going to marry a local prostitute. They have not had sex together personally because they are both Christians and she is saving herself for marriage.
The RCC makes about as much sense.