The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Monday, October 21, 2013

Childproof 45: Be It a Sin to Cover Honor, Part II




Page 45


Dear Bishop Gaydos:

John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop
St. Paul-Minneapolis
Trembling to the Reckoning is a rap sheet
of illegal activity, shady deals, and an
aggregation of misdeeds unimaginable
when referencing spiritual leadership and
the dominant religious organization in the
United States: in this case, the Archdiocese
of St. Paul-Minneapolis and the bishops of
the Minnesota Catholic Conference.  Like
Thy Child’s Face, it is a ridiculous tale
of bad practices, real pain, and real
damage to real people without
regard
for anyone’s heart or soul.
 

The July reference in Childproof 44 of the
Rev. Daniel Christopher Conlin is a prime
example.  In 2004, we reported directly to
Harry J. Flynn, then archbishop of St. Paul-
Minneapolis, that Father Conlin was a
confidence artist and trickster.  Flynn’s
response and actions of his successor John C.
Nienstedt, indicates only one imperative:  the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
(USCCB) Charter for the Protection of the
Children and Young People is meaningless.

Nienstedt, who is a confirmation of this fact, likes to portray himself as a champion of the First Amendment liberty and the victim of religious bigotry.  And, yet, the Charter seems to have little meaning:  cast aside in favor of lawlessness in continuing effort to protect predatory priests from justice.

Miracles for Sale
Rather than admit that Conlin is a predator, Nienstedt and Flynn have created smokescreen of misplaced trust and misspent youth.  Their gambit may be referred to as The Thornbirds Conspiracy.

We have never understood the fascination with The Thornbirds by the Australian author Colleen McCullough.  A bodice ripper extraordinaire, the novel is marketed as a tale of star-crossed lovers.  But Down Under epic, in reality, is about a self-absorbed Roman Catholic priest greedy for wealth and power.

 

The leadership of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis was apprised of the Rev.
Daniel Conlin
matter on 29 September 2004.  The recipients of this information were: 
Archbishop Harry J. Flynn;
the Rev. Kevin M. McDonough, Vicar General; William Fallon,
Chancellor; Edward F. Fox, Chairman
of the Archdiocesan Child Abuse Review Board and
a partner in the law firm of Oppenheimer, Wolff, &
Donnelly, LLP (now a partner at
Bassford Remele) ; Phyllis Willerschiedt, Coordinator-Survivors Office;
Christopher Leifeld,
Executive Director, Minnesota Catholic Conference; and Father Conlin.

Father Ralph de Bricassart, dissatisfied with his backwater existence in the Australia after a stellar academic career in Rome, realizes that he will never escape his situation without the appropriate financial base.

 

A consummate salesman, he charms a rich widow with the hope that she will support his objective.  To keep the widow in tow, he also grooms her niece to lock in his access with the key players of the family drama incorporated in the plot.
 
Eventually, Ralph gets the widow’s mite, breaks the niece’s spirit, and leaves her with an unborn child:  a son.
 
Unlike Barbara Cartland, who defines good and evil clearly, McCullough gives the priest a pass as the victim of cloying women, who tried to prevent his return to the Vatican stage arrayed in cardinal red and white lace. 

A Wolf at the Church Door
Rev. Daniel C. Conlin
Pastor-St. Columba Church
St. Paul, Minn.
2001
Flynn and Nienstedt tried to pull the
same scam in the Archdiocese of St.
Paul-Minneapolis: a matter 
involving
a married couple who we will name

as Joseph and Mary Santos.
 
In this case, Nienstedt and Flynn have
offered us a fairy tale about a consensual
relationship with Conlin as the victim
with Mary and her child cast aside in
order to
preserve the image of the
rogue clergyman.
 
The Conlin case, though, is really about
an arrogant church pastor — the CEO
of a parish community — who used his
position to initiate a liaison with a
married subordinate:  in this case,
Mary Santos,” a school secretary

at St. Columba in St. Paul, Minn.

St. Columba Church
St. Paul, Minn.
2001
Archbishop Flynn responded this
crisis in 2004 by transferring Conlin,
who is a canon lawyer, to St. Patrick
Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif., a
San Francisco suburb.  William
Cardinal Levada
was archbishop
of San Francisco at that time

(1995-2005).

Levada managed his predatory
priest population in the same
fashion as Flynn. 
Levada used
St. Patrick Seminary to warehouse
another canon lawyer:  the Rev.
Gregory G. Ingels. Levada was
informed about Ingles as early
as 1996.  Even though Levada
knew then that Ingels had allegedly sodomized a
15-year-old boy, he chose to continue the child molestation policy of his predecessor, Archbishop John R. Quinn.

Levada’s 9-year assignment was a campaign to shield pedophile priests and impugn anyone who challenged the Roman Catholic system.  Instead he latched on to Ingels and the child predator’s inventive canon law theory that pedophile priests suffered from
a “psychic infirmity”:  implying that a pedophile priest suffered
from a pre-existing psychological condition which could prevent defrocking.


Rev. Gregory Ingels
2003
The so-called Ingels Case Law Theory
was adopted by the American bishops
and continues to be used to keep sexual
predators in cassock and collar.  Levada’s
patronage allowed Ingels to solidify his
reputation as a leading expert on pedophile
priests.  Church and court documents detail
his work as an expert testimony for the
USCCB.  But the ultimate Ingels accolade
is the imprimatur of Canon Law Society
of America, which published his
articles
and allowed him to lecture on the topic
in the United
States and abroad.
 
Levada caught the attention of Benedict XVI, who promoted him to the Vatican post of Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (2005-2012), the post held by Benedict prior to his promotion to the Chair of St. Peter.

Harry J. Flynn
Archbishop-Emeritus
St. Paul-Minneapolis
1995-2008
Abuse of Power
St. Patrick’s Seminary is a convenient
way station for renegade priests.  Conlin,

a canon lawyer like Ingels, found a
temporary home on that campus.
 
To date, no one has acknowledged this
man’s abuse of power.

Instead, Conlin is allowed to celebrate
Mass on a weekly basis services at St. Olaf
in downtown in Minneapolis and substitute
at St. Cecilias and Blessed Sacrament in

St. Paul, the Church of St. Canice in
Le Sueur County and other locations.
Since 2000, he has been chaplain of the
St. Paul Fire Department.  He has served
since 1993 as chaplain of the Minnesota

Emerald Society, an Irish-American
law enforcement group.

Conlin was ordained in 1990.  After working as a priest at Guardian Angels in Oakdale and at the Cathedral of St. Paul, he was sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in canon law in 2000.
 
Canon lawyers interpret and apply the law of the Roman Catholic Church.  One of Conlins duties has been to serve as a judge on clerical penal trials, according to his now-deleted biography on the archdiocese website, determining church discipline for priests accused of wrongdoing. 

Conlin also has taught at the university level and leads retreats nationally and internationally.  In 2008, Conlin to lead a church retreat in Birmingham, Ala. 

We suspect Conlin was working at the Benedictine Abbey of
St. Bernard
, a notorious institution in Cullman, Ala., that
was reorganized by the Superior General in the late 1990’s.

Or, perhaps, he was working the Eternal Word Network
in Irondale, Ala.


Conlin is known for his traditionalist views, focusing on Adoration of the Holy Eucharist and related activities.  According to Father Conlin:


“People come to adoration because they are hungry
and thirsty for the Lord . . . .
 
I see families praying together.  Kids come with
their parents, husbands come with their wives,
and grandparents come with their grandchildren.
That is more than sufficient grace; that is fruit
enough aside from any miracles.

“They find peace by being with him and they
come away more focused, more courageous
and more generous in living their faith.”
 
Conlin also tried to make a name for himself as an expert in Catholic healthcare circles.  He provided legal opinions to the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Catholic Hospital Association, promoting the concept of healthcare as a religious charity rather than corporate ownership of medical services.
 
Neinstedt and Flynn have allowed Conlin to participate without penalty in the Twin Cities church society.  They have given him a cushy Chancery job with the Marriage Tribunal.  They allowed Conlin to move into the Cathedral rectory and the sumptuous Crocus Hill and Summit Avenue neighborhoods as if nothing ever happened.

In the Armed Forces, an officer who fraternizes with subordinates violates military code typically is removed from duty, demoted in rank, and often expelled from the service.  Or, perhaps, the International Monetary Fund scandal involving former chief executive Dominique Strauss-Kahn is more appropriate.  But Flynn and Nienstedt have no compunction about protecting a renegade priest who has refused to accept responsibility for his actions.
 
A Marriage in Ruins


An image of Father Conlin’s
child is not available, but we
hope his son is as cute this
little boy.
Conlin destroyed a marriage and
abandoned his own child.  And
rather than stand by Mary Santos
and child, Conlin and his bosses
attempted to coerce the secretary
and her husband to accept
responsibility for the priest’s
behavior.
 
According to a report in the St. Paul
Pioneer Press-Dispatch
, the childs
birth certificate does not specify the
father:  the space for the fathers
name is blank.  Neither do the court
decree nor divorce agreement identifies
the father of the child.  But the marital
termination agreement includes a
Recognition of Parentage form signed
by The Father of the (Child) and
specifies a monthly child support
payment of $750.00:  a pitiful per
diem of $24.00. 


This child has been condemned to a life of poverty, but, perhaps, Neinstedt find a way to provide both mother and child with a lifetime annuity.  Or, perhaps, St. Paul-Minneapolis clergy and parishes will pass the hat so that this child will have a college trust fund.
 
Conlin is a man without honor or integrity.  We can assume that he is not paying child support.  And rather than support the Mary Santos,mother of his child, he has abandoned both, hiding behind the skirts of Holy Mother, The Church.
 
Nienstedt has declined repeated requests to meet with Marys ex-husband, Joseph Santos.  But the archbishop has no problem with sheltering the deadbeat dad and rewarding a scoundrel with a promotion.  We wonder how they would respond to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
 
A Case of Mixed Metaphors
Rev. Alberto Cutié
As with The Thornbirds canard, the
second defense strategy approved by
Nienstedt and Flynn in the Conlin saga
is to cast the tragedy as a struggle
between the married-clergy-versus-
celibacy ideologies.
 
But this argument is even more absurd
than the fiction of the Australian bodice
ripper, particularly when applied to a
self-centered individual who only wanted
to satisfy his personal desires.
 
Conlin shares every tendency displayed by Ralph de Bricassart.  The central character of Colleen McCullough’s pulp fiction is a greedy, self-serving, manipulator whose only interest is escape Australia’s rural culture and return to glories of his former Roman lifestyle.  And so he toys will all concerned until his able to work the situation to his advantage.
 
Conlin is a cad and crumbum.  His disgrace is remarkable.  His response is scalding.  The future of the mother and child remains uncertain.
 
The only difference between the fictional priest and the St. Paul clergyman is that the former got all the loot and a cardinal’s hat while later has become the new poster boy of the predatory priesthood:  a confidence man caught with his pants down.

But we can recommend some roles models for Father Conlin.  Two former employees of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., experience something similar.  The Rev. Brian Driscoll and the Rev. Jamie Smith opted out of the clergy to protect their new-found wives.  The Rev. Alberto Cuti√©, the Archdiocese of Miami, Fla., television host known as Pedro Alberto, married Ruhama Buni Canellis, and joined the Anglican Communion.


http://webzoom.freewebs.com/cometothestable/Trembling_to_the_Reckoning_2004.pdf

 
Appendix II:  Minnesota Parishes/Institutions Served
                    by Alleged Perpetrators of Clergy Sexual
                    Misconduct with Diocesan Affiliation

City
Parish/Assignment
# = More
than One
Diocese
Adrian
St. Adrian
 
W
Akeley
St. John
 
C
Albany
Mother of Mercy Retirement Home
Seven Dolars
2
SC
Albert Lea
St. Theodore
2
W
Alexandria
St. Mary
 
SC
Anoka
Crosier Community
St. Stephen
3
2
SPM

Apple Valley
Risen Savior
 
SPM
Argyle
St. Rose of Lima
 
C
Austin
Queen of Angels
Pacelli High School
St. Augustine
St. Edward



2
W
Avoca
St. Rose of Lima
 
W
Avon
St. Benedict
 
SC
Badger
St. Mary
 
C
Barry
St. Barnabus
 
NU
Bechyn
St. Mary
 
NU
Belle Prairie
Holy Family
2
SC
Bemidji
St. Philip
4
C
Benson
St. Francis
 
NU
Bertha
St. Joseph
2
SC
Birch Coulee
St. Patrick
 
NU
Blackduck
St. Ann
 
C
Bloomington
St. Edward
 
SPM
Blue Earth
SS. Peter & Paul
 
W
Blue Grass
St. Hubert
 
SC
Bluffton
St. John the Baptist
 
SC
Brainerd
St. Francis
St. Joseph’s Hospital
Medical Center

2
D
Breckenridge
St. Mary of the Presentation
 
SC
Brewster
Sacred Heart
 
W
Brooks
St. Joseph
 
C
Brownsdale
Our Lady of Loretto
 
W
Brownsville
St. Patrick
 
W
Buffalo
Christ the King
Retreat Center
St. Francis Xavier
 
SPM
Caledonia
St. John the Baptist
St. Mary
 
W
Canby
St. Peter
 
NU
Cedar Lake
St. Patrick
 
SPM
Clearwater
St. Luke
 
SPM
Cloquet
St. Casimir
 
D
Cohasset
St. Augustine
 
D
Cold Spring
St. Boniface
3
SC
Collegeville
St. John’s Abbey
15
SC
Columbia Heights
Immaculate Conception
2
SPM
Comfrey
St. Paul
 
NU
Coon Rapids
Epiphany
 
SPM
Crookston
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
 
C
Currie
Immaculate Heart of Mary
 
W
Crystal
St. Raphael
4
SPM
Dawson
St. James
 
NU
Deer River
St. Mary
2
D
Deerwood
St. Joseph
2
D
Delano
St. Joseph
St. Peter
2
2
SPM
Dent
Sacred Heart
 
SC
Duluth
Federal Prison
Holy Family
MN Indian Missions
Cathedral of Our Lady
St. Anthony
St. Benedict
St. James
St. Mary’s Convent
St. Mary, Star of the Sea
Sacred Heart



2

D
Dundee
St. Mary
 
W
East Grand Forks
Sacred Heart
 
C
Edina
Fairview Southdale Hospital
Our Lady of Grace

3
SPM
Ely
St. Anthony
 
D
Fairmont
St. John Vianney
 
W
Faribault
Immaculate Conception
4
SPM
Farming
St. Catherine
 
SC
Farmington
St. Michael
 
SPM
Fergus Falls
Our Lady of Victory
 
SC
Flensburg
Sacred Heart
 
SC
Foley
St. John
 
SC
Forest Lake
St. Peter
4
SPM
Fosston
St. Mary
 
C
Fountain
St. Lawrence O’Toole
2
W
Franklin
Sacred Heart
 
NU
Fridley
St. William
 
SPM
Gaylord
St. Michael
 
NU
Ghent
St. Eloi
 
NU
Glencoe
St. George
 
NU
Golden Valley
North Memorial Hospital
St. Margaret Mary

4
SPM
Gneson
St. Joseph
 
D
Graceville
Holy Rosary
2
NU
Grand Marais
St. John
 
D
Grand Rapids
St. Joseph
 
D
Green Valley
St. Clotilde
 
NU
Hassan Township
St. Walburga
1
SPM
Hastings
Guardian Angels
St. Boniface/Elizabeth
Ann Seton
3
2
SPM
Hector
St. John
 
NU
Heidelberg
St. Scholastica
2
SPM
Henning
St. Edward
 
SC
Hibbing
General Hospital
 
D
Hill City
St. John
 
D
Hillman
Holy Family
Holy Family Mission House
 
D
Hokah
St. Peter
 
W
Hopkins
St. Joseph
St. John the Evangelist
2
SPM
Hugo
St. John the Baptist
 
SPM
International Falls
St. Thomas Aquinas
 
D
Inver Grove Heights
St. Patrick
 
SPM
Jackson
St. Wenceslaus
 
W
Jasper
St. Joseph
 
W
Kandiyohi
St. Patrick
 
NU
Kenyon
St. Michael
 
SPM
Kimball
St. Anne
2
SC
Lafayette
St. Gregory the Great
 
NU
Lake Benton
St. Genevieve
 
NU
Lake Crystal
Holy Family
 
W
Lake Lillian
St. Thomas More
 
NU
Lakeland
St. Francis of Assisi
2
SPM
Lansboro
St. Patrick
 
SPM
Laporte
St. Theodore
 
C
Lexington
St. Joseph
 
SPM
Lino Lakes
St. Joseph
3
SPM
Lismore
St. Anthony
 
W
Litchfield
St. Philip
 
NU
Little Canada
St. John the Evangelist
 
SPM
Little Falls
St. Gabriel’s Hospital
 
SC
Long Lake
St. George
 
SPM
Lucan
Our Lady of Victory
 
NU
Lonsdale
Immaculate Conception
 
SPM
McGregor
Catholic Youth Camps
 
D
Manannah
Church of Our Lady
 
NU
Mankato
Provincial House
(School Sisters of Notre Dame)
St. Joseph the Worker


2
W


Mapleton
St. Theresa
 
W
Marshall
Holy Redeemer
 
NU
Melrose
St. Mary
3
SC
Menahga
Assumption of Our Lady
 
SC
Mendota
St. Peter
2
SPM
Middle River
St. Joseph
 
C
Minneapolis
Annunciation
Basilica of St. Mary
Christ the King
Most Holy Trinity
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
St. Albert the Great
St. Anne
St. Bridget
St. Helena
St. Kevin
Visitation
2




3
2



3

SPM
Minneiska
St. Mary
 
W
Minnetonka
Immaculate Heart of Mary
 
SPM
Montgomery
Holy Redeemer
2
SPM
Morris
Assumption of the Blessed
Virgin Mary
 
SC
Morton
St. John
 
NU
Mound
Our Lady of the Lake
 
SPM
Nevis
Immaculate Conception
Our Lady of the Snow
(Paraclete Center)
 
C
New Brighton
St. John the Baptist
 
SPM
New Prague
St. Wencislaus
 
SPM
New Richland
All Saints
 
W
New Ulm
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
2
NU
Northfield
St. Dominic
 
SPM
North Mankato
Holy Rosary
 
NU
North Prairie
Holy Cross
 
SC
North St. Paul
St. Peter
2
SPM
Oakdale
Guardian Angels
 
SPM
Olivia
St. Aloysius
 
NU
Onamia
Crosier Monastery
8
SC
Oslo
St. Joseph
 
C
Osseo
St. Vincent
2
SPM
Owatanna
St. Joseph
 
W
Park Rapids
St. Joseph Hospital
St. Peter
 
C
Paynesville
St. Louis
 
SC
Pelican Rapids
St. Leonard
 
SC
Pierz
St. Mary’s Villa
 
SC
Pine Island
St. Michael
 
SPM
Pine River
Our Lady of Lourdes
 
D
Pipestone
St. Leo
 
W
Plainview
St. Joachim
 
W
Prior Lake
St. Michael
2
SPM
Proctor
St. Rose
 
D
Randall
St. James
 
SC
Redwing
State Training School
 
SPM
Richfield
St. Peter
St. Richard
 
SPM
Robbinsdale
Holy Family
Sacred Heart

3
SPM
Rochester
Assisi Heights Administration Center
Lourdes High School
Pax Christi
St. Bridget
St. Francis of Assisi
St. John
St. Pius X
t.o.r. Congregational Center




2
3
3

W
Rogers
St. Martin
 
SPM
Rollingstone
Holy Trinity
2
W
Roscoe
St. Agnes
 
SC
Rosen
St. Joseph
 
NU
Roseville
St. Rose of Lima
 
SPM
Roseau
Sacred Heart
 
C
Rosen
St. Joseph
 
NU
Rushford
St. Joseph
 
W
St. Charles
St. Charles Borromeo
 
W
St. Cloud
Cathedral High School
Holy Angels
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Augustine
St. John Cantius
St. Louis Monastery
St. Peter
St. Scholastica Convent



3

2


SC
St. James
St. James
 
W
St. John
St. John
 
NU
St. Joseph
St. Benedict Convent
St. Joseph
2
3
SC
St. Michael
St. Michael
2
SPM
St. Paul
Assumption
Blessed Sacrament
Cathedral of St. Paul
Catholic Youth Center
Community of Christ the
    Redeemer
Holy Redeemer
Home of the Good Shepherd
Maternity of Mary
Nativity
Our Lady of Guadalupe
St. Agnes
St. Adalbert
St. Bernard
St. Francis de Sales
St. James
St. Joseph’s Hospital
St. Leo
St. Luke
St. Mark
St. Matthew
St. Patrick
St. Paul Seminary
St. Therese
St. Thomas Academy
St. Vincent de Paul
University of St. Thomas


3









4

2

2

5

2




2
SPM
St. Pete
St. Peter
 
NU
St. Thomas
St. Thomas
 
SPM
Sauk Centre
Our Lady of Angels
St. Michael’s Hospital
St. Paul
State Home for Girls


2
SC
Savage
St. John the Baptist
 
SPM
Shakopee
St. Mark
 
SPM
Shoreview
St. Odilia
4
SPM
Silver Lake
St. Joseph
 
NU
Sleepy Eye
St. Mary Help of Christians
 
NU
Sobieski
St. Stanislaus
2
SC
South Saint Paul
Holy Trinity
St. John Vianney
 
SPM
Stewart
St. Boniface
 
NU
Stillwater
St. Mary
St. Michael
 
SPM
Thief River Falls
St. Bernard
 
C
Tracy
St. Mary
 
NU
Two Inlets
St. Mary
 
C
Tyler
St. Dionysius
 
NU
Veseli
Most Holy Trinity
 
SPM
Virginia
Holy Spirit
St. John
 
D
Wabasso
St. Anne
 
NU
Waite Park
St. Joseph
 
SC
Walnut Grove
St. Paul
 
NU
Warren
SS. Peter & Paul
 
C
Watkins
St. Anthony
 
NU
Wayzata
St. Bartholomew
 
SPM
Wells
St. Casimir
 
W
West St. Paul
St. Joseph
St. Michael
2
2
SPM
White Bear Lake
St. Mary of the Lake
St. Pius X
 
SPM
Willmar
St. Mary
2
NU
Willow River
St. Mary
 
D
Winona
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
College of St. Teresa
Immaculate Conception RFD
Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary
St. Casimir
St. Mary
St. Stanislaus
Terrace Heights
4
2

4
2
2
W
Winsted
Holy Trinity
2
NU
Winthrop
St. Francis de Sales
 
NU
Worthington
St. Mary
2
W

 
Parishes per Diocese             Abbreviations
C              69                       C              Crookston
D              92                       D              Duluth
NU            80                       NU           New Ulm
SC            139                      SC            St. Cloud
SPM          222                     SPM          St. Paul/Minneapolis
W             118                     W             Winona

MN    Total    720

Last Updated:  03/18/2004



 

 

 

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