The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Childproof 52: Deviant Celibacy or the Angst of Child Pornography, Part IV


Page 52


Dear Bishop Gaydos:
Henry Scott Tuke:  The Bathers, 1888
The Twin Cities Circus once
known as the Archdiocese
of St. Paul-Minneapolis has
offered up a lot of information
about child pornography (not
to mention child molestation
and pedophile priests).

At least four generations of
church leadership in this
Mississippi River town have
sat on their hilltop bluff in
St. Paul sneering at law
enforcement, the courts,
and the community.  The
Summit Avenue leadership
has had no qualms about
operating the Chancery
in a manner reminiscent
of the Chicago mobsters
who once found a haven
from law enforcement in
the Minnesota wilderness.

And just like the Chicago crowd, we’ve learned a great deal
about how these so-called clergy have engaged in obstruction, evidence tampering, intimidation,
nonfeasance, and abetting predators to pervert the course of justice.  The only difference is that nearly every bad actor under this Big Top of criminal deceit has gone scot free, never to see the inside to jail cell, never to serve a prison sentence.

What we have not seen are the crime scene photos that illustrate the depraved indifference of Nienstedt, Flynn, and Co., i.e. the pornographic images of exploited children that have been squirreled away in their basement archives, file cabinets, and vault.  Partners in this combine are former auxiliary bishops Frederick F. Campbell of Columbus, Ohio (and chairman of the board of trustees of the Pontifical College Josephinum), and Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa. 

Rounding out this group is Robert J. Carlson, archbishop of St. Louis.  The number of child molesters whom they have championed has never been tabulated properly and they prohibited any forensic analysis to disclose in the courts or the public arena.
Sally Mann:  Popsicle Juice, 1985
Child pornography and the trafficking of human beings into sexual slavery are difficult to present in visual form.  We cannot provide examples in graphic detail due to subject matter and legal restraints.

But we can offer a modest
glimpse at images that have
been controversial in their
time, but have survived the
“dirty pictures” test through
litigation, critical analysis,
and artistic merit. 

Contemporaneously, we can
review the photography of
Sally Mann and Jock Sturges.  Each has produced work often described as pictorial, surreal, aligned with sensual romanticism.  They tend to work with soft focus so that the subject matter is not highly refined.  They are not avant garde.

Neither Mann nor Sturges can compete with a host of other artists and their expertise at manipulating film, light, and composition.  We refer to the great artists of the 20th Century Edward Jean Steichen, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Margaret Bourke-White, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Brassï, or Alfred Stieglitz.

Both photographers also are far removed from the artistry and expertise of society and fashion (glitz and glam) images of Annie Leibovitz, Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst, or Robert Mapplethrope.
Jock Sturges:  Thomas, c. 1991 

We believe the photography of Mann or Sturges bears some merit beyond good commercial work, despite the gimmicks of their efforts which are much like William Wegman.  Mann turns her camera on her children.  Sturges applies a background of surf and sand populated with pretty boys and girls.  Wegman has made a career photographing his Weimaraners. 

But with Mann and Sturges, the gimmick does not work without the risqué hint of scandal providing a secondary foundation and an applied layer free speech and other related democratic principles.

Mann has been severely criticized, because early in her career she used her camera to sexualize her children for public exhibition.  In the 1990’s, her endeavor was characterized as an aperitif for the child predator:  androgynous, pale portraits somewhat beyond the issues of artistic license or legitimate art.

According the New York Times:

Mann has so far been spared the litigation that surrounded the Robert Mapplethorpe shows.  And unlike Jock Sturges, whose equipment and photographs of nude prepubescent girls were confiscated by the F.B.I., she has not been pursued by the Government on child pornography charges. But a Federal prosecutor in Roanoke, Va., from whom she sought advice, warned Mann that no fewer than eight pictures she had chosen for the traveling exhibition could subject her to arrest.”

In 1991, Mann's exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum was subjected to protest.  Her work attracted the attention of the Rev. Vic Eliason, a fundamentalist preacher who operates a radio and television network in the Middle West, attempt to rally the public against the exhibition.

Sally Mann:  Untitled, 2005
Child pornography laws, particularly Federal statutes, are designed to hamper the creation and distribution of certain images:  gratuitous or explicit nudity, images of genital and other parts of the body, intercourse between children and adults, and subject matters that can be classified as grotesque and degenerate without artistic merit.

Mann’s works has survived these challenges, we should note.  Much of her work pretty and whimsical is included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, among others.

Jock Sturges, 67, uses a large format camera to photograph subjects at nudist beaches in northern California and France.
He is in the limelight of controversy for producing distinct kind
of photography.

Jock Sturges:  Antoine et Julien, Montalivet, France, 2002 (Detail)
His work has been often criticized as being a medium of young people’s pornography veiled with a blanket of fine art.  Others point to his focus on his subject’s own sexuality in a non-voyeuristic way.  The images that Sturges produces are unquestionably erotic rather than treating the human body as
an abstract structure.

In 1991 the FBI raided his studio, confiscating his work and equipment.  He was charged with the manufacture of child pornography, but federal court dismissed the case after a
two-year investigation.

Jock Sturges: Tristan, La Jenny, France

In November 1997, Barnes & Noble was indicted on obscenity charges in Williamson County, Tenn., for selling two books by Sturges and one by David Hamilton that contain photographs of nude children at its store in Brentwood, Tenn., a Nashville suburb.
The books received critical praise, but a grand jury contended that the literature violated state obscenity laws.  The indictment in the accused the New York-based company of violating Tennessee's obscenity law by displaying: “The Last Day of Summer” and “Radiant Identities” by Sturges and “The Age of Innocence” by Hamilton.  Distributing material deemed obscene by local standards or displaying such material in places visible or accessible to minors, is a misdemeanor in Tennessee, punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a $50 fine.

Sally Mann:  Candy Cigarette, 1985

His works are in the collection of many places, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art;  the Minneapolis Institute of Art; the Musée de la Louviere, Brussels; the Milwaukee Museum of Art; and the Portland Museum of Art.
While Mann and Sturges provide a 21st Century observation of this topic, historically, we are more familiar with the problems faced by Michelangelo, Goya, and, perhaps, lesser known artists such as the Victorian painter Henry Scott Tuke.

The human form uncovered has been subject of artistry for centuries.  The three-dimensional antiquities of Greece and Rome gave way to the mastery of Michelangelo and Caravaggio as they captured the male form as both heroic and youthful.  The Titian and Botticelli gave us the feminine form idealized by many as a “golden age” of classical inspiration.

Francisco Goya’s “Naked Maja” (1800) is said to be the first painting to display
the female pelvis with pubic hair (confiscated by the Spanish Inquisition in 1813).

But the Council of Trent condemned Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, a fresco commissioned for the Sistine Chapel by Pope Clement VII.  The unclothed figures incited controversy throughout the creation that forms the reredos of the altar.  The Council, within days of the death of Clement, condemned nudity in religious art:  “all lasciviousness is to be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust.”

In 1565, the year after Michelangelo’s death, Clement’s successor, Pius IV, ordered the genitalia exposed in the fresco draped with over-painting.  Daniele da Volterra was assigned the tasked, and is known to historians as Il Braghetonne, “The breeches-maker.”  Da Volterra also repainted the figures of Catherine and Blaise, whose positions were considered unseemly. Further coverings were added in the 17th  and 18th centuries.

Henry Scott Tuke:  The Sunbathers

Some art historians believe that da Volterra also scraped away the offending parts and painted on top of freshly-applied plaster.  Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, afraid that the original was going to be destroyed, commissioned Marcello Venusti to paint a copy of the Last Judgment in 1549.  This tempera painting on wood is provides a historical narrative of the censored fresco.

In 1504, Michelangelo’s David created a stir in Florence: the locals pelted the statue with rocks.  Leonardo da Vinci is recorded to have said the statue needs “decent ornament” to cover the penis out of respect for Christian modesty.  Pope Innocent X (1644-1655) started the original fig-leaf campaign, chiseling the exposed phalluses off Roman statues and fitting each sculpture with a more ‘modest’ leaf. The systematically defacing of art for religion continued through Pope Pius IX (1846-1878).

Henry Scott Tuke:  “Charlie Mitchell,” Boy on a Beach
By 1857, a copy of Michelangelo’s “David” was presented to Queen Victoria by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.  A plaster cast of a fig leaf 19.68505 inches
in length, was made in London soon after the statue’s arrival and attached to the statue to spare the blushes of visiting female dignitaries. 
Tin fig leaves had been used on other nude male statuary during the early years of the Museum.
Over time artists have displayed nudity to create public scandal.  Goya’s “Naked Maja” (1800) is said to be the first painting to display the female pelvis with pubic hair (confiscated by the Spanish Inquisition in 1813).  Rodin’s 1898 bronze of Balzac was reviled and did not achieve acceptance until 1931 when the monument was dedicated at the corner of the Boulevards Raspail and Montparnasse.

Henry Scott Tuke:  Noonday Heat

Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929), a member of the British Royal Academy, specialized in nude adolescent boys doing everyday activities.  His images were not overtly erotic, nor did he usually display the genitals of his models.  Nonetheless, some critics considered his work objectionable during his lifetime, and today some view Tuke as the Mapplethorpe of his day.

Tuke began painting the nude outdoors as a professional artist in 1886, when he moved to Falmouth in Cornwall.  Walter Shilling, a model from London was his original muse for his early nudes.  But he soon turned to local boys primarily Albert Pidwell (1877-1936) and Willy or Bill Rolling, born c.1868, (the brother of Tuke's most frequently used model at this time, Jack Rolling, born c.1870).  Albert Pidwell would have been 13 years old in 1890.  Will Rolling would have been 20.  Tuke’s works sell in the six-figure range today.

Henry Scott Tuke:  Lovers of the Sun
When we mention Nienstedt, Flynn, and Co. alongside the issue of child pornography we also have to remind ourselves that we don’t need is the hectoring of a compromised bully.

It appears that Nienstedt is resuscitating career of the Rev. Robert J. Altier as a moral educator.  Flynn, a shoddy and disgraceful clergyman himself, censored this so-called preacher and teacher in 2004 because he campaigned against the Charter to Protect Children and Young People and tried to broadside the Virtus sex education program, using his national pulpit at the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) to promote these attacks. 

Rev. Robert J. Altier
St. Paul, Minn.
Indeed, Altier is no friend of children
or parents.  He is the first of many
so-called preachers to be removed
for their unsavory work as quacks
and con artists:  e.g.
John Corapi
(alleged womanizing),
 (sexual assault), Ken
(who was discovered hiding
out in the Diocese of Jefferson City),
Frank Pavone (alleged embezzler),
Francis Mary Stone (now Dave
Stone, alleged groping scandal
and now, apparently, married),
Benedict Groeschel.
We know that organizations like Nienstedt, Flynn, and Co. traffic in fear and shame.  And if they can keep us afraid and we live in shame and silence, then they can control us.

As victims, we no longer need men like these to shape our response to their misdeeds or suppress their secrets.  Secrets are the source of our weakness.  If we live with secrets, we live in shame.  We live in silence.  We live in fear. 

Instead, we should consider the source.  Obviously, they live private lives and hold private beliefs that are much different than those they parade in public.  We have enough evidence to this face in the Twin Cities alone:  it precludes any further discussion.
This is the ultimate con.

Henry Scott Tuke:  Under the Western Sun, 1918

Why should Altier be allowed to undermine the safety of our children with a phony message?  Why should Altier be allowed to apply another layer of secrecy on to the pedophile mindset that has corrupted the office of the archbishop and the senior management of the Twin Cities?

We cannot allow another systematic campaign to protect pedophile priests and other sexual predators.  Otherwise we will end up with another generation of leaders like Anthony J. O’Connell, the former bishop of Knoxville, Tenn., and Palm Beach, Fla., who created a collage of clergy abuse as the rector of St. Thomas Seminary, Hannibal.  Feel free to refresh this case in Childproof 20, Childproof 21, and Childproof 30, and Childproof 18.
Anything else is a mistake.
Further Reading:
Number of Alleged Child Predators Greater than Nienstedt Will Admit
Popular Catholic Priest John Corapi Calls It Quits, Blasts Church Leaders
Priest Accused of Molesting Woman During Two-Year Exorcism
Virginia Woman Claims Exorcism by Priest Turned to Sexual Abuse
Virginia Lawsuit Claims Exorcist Sexually Assaulted Woman
Pope Promotes Burke; Sex Abuse Victims Respond
Fr. Francis Mary Stone; EWTN Priest Steps down

Friday, March 7, 2014

Childproof 51: Deviant Celibacy and the Angst of Child Pornography, Part III

Page 51

John C. Nienstedt
St. Paul-Minneapolis
Dear Bishop Gaydos:
We’ve already discussed the current
pornography incidents in the Archdiocese
of St. Paul-Minneapolis in Childproof 48.

But the status of the case involving the
Rev. Jonathan Paul Shelley appears to be
closed as of 29 January 2014 . . . and yet,
may not. 

Washington County Attorney Peter J. Orput
announced at the end of January that he
will not charge the former Hugo, Minn.,
priest.  Investigators have determined that
pornographic images on his computer hard
drive do not involve children.  

Shelley became a suspect in 2014 as the result of an allegation that a laptop computer he owned until 2003 contained kiddie porn.  Shelley, 52, was pastor at St. Jude of the Lake, Mahtomedi, when the pornography was found.  He was pastor of St. John the Baptist, Hugo, 2012,

Shelley sold the laptop at a rummage sale.  The new owner, Joe Ternus, found the images and gave the laptop to the archdiocese in or about 2003.
Peter J. Orput
Washington County
Stillwater, Minn.

Ternus, a Hugo parishioner, purchased the
laptop for his children to use.  But when he
rebooted it on 7 September 2004, he found
what he believed to be objectionable,
pornographic material downloaded onto
the hard drive, according to court documents.

“It was graphic. It was hard-core,” Ternus
said in describing the images he found on
the laptop during a 4 October 2013 radio

“Just kind of freaked out everybody,” he
said.  “I mean, this was something that a
bunch of 6-, 7- and 8-year-old kids were
going to be using, and this was what was on there waiting for them, if somebody hadn’t taken the time to go in and look for it. And apart from that, this was the computer from the parish priest where my family went.”

Ternus gave the laptop to church representatives on 29 September 2004, after he made copies of the hard drive files.  The Rev.
Kevin McDonough, vicar general at the time, contacted a private investigator to perform a forensic examination for analysis.  On
15 October 2004, the investigator received the analysis.  The investigator retrieved the hard drive and two disks the examiner had produced of the hard drive, and gave them to an archdiocese receptionist with the notation “Attention: Father McDonough.”

Joe Ternus
Jonathan P. Shelley Case
Hugo, Minn.
“After some time passed and not hearing
anything from the archdiocese,” Ternus
asked McDonough for a meeting.  Ternus
“was concerned that the matter ‘would
be swept under the rug,’” the memo said,
and McDonough assured him “the matter
would be fully investigated.” Ternus didn’t
hear back from the archdiocese.

In 2013, Ternus contacted the City of
St. Paul Police Department after learning
Shelley had moved to a neighboring church.

Investigators then reviewed two disks that Ternus had created and one the computer examiner had made, all from 2004.

Police closed the case on 29 September 2013, noting that the
computer disks turned over by the archdiocese contained only
adult pornography.  But few days later the case was reopened
when one of Shelley’s Hugo parishioners gave police files that
the church member said were copied from the priest’s hard
drive about 10 years earlier.

Shelley has always denied the allegation.  But the Shelley case is more of a cause for concern than it would appear.

The White Banker’s Box
Joshua Lego
Police Records, Property,
and Evidence
City of St. Paul
Police Department
According to media accounts, a
St. Paul police report filed with
the Ramsey County court offers
a different perspective.  The
document was discussed in open

court on 3 October 2013.

The report, drafted by Sgt. William T.
Gillet and dated 29 September 2013,
highlights a meeting of he and
Commander Joshua Lego had on
5 March 2013 with Joseph F. Kueppers,
chancellor for civil affairs for the
archdiocese.  Andrew J. Eisenzimmer,
who had retired from that position
two months earlier, was present
as well.

Gillet and Lego requested that Kueppers hand over “white banker’s box” held in the Chancery’s vault.  The box contained evidence and information about Shelley, according to Jennifer Haselberger, who, until 30 April 2013, was chancellor for canonical affairs (she joined the chancery staff in 2008), filed the complaint with the police that led to this meeting and request.  Cmdr. Lego supervises three separate offices comprising 40 civilian and sworn staff; responsible for records collection and dissemination and property and evidence safeguarding.  

Search Words for Children
In particular, Gillet and Lego wanted computer discs that allegedly contained “thousands of images of child pornography”; and Chancery documents that made reference to search terms such
as “helpless teenage boys,” “naked boy pics” and “hard core
teen boys.”

Over time, we have collected a list of search terms that are used by visitors to Thy Child’s Face.  Bishop Gaydos, you and your colleagues, may be interested in learning more about the predilections of pedophiles and sexual predators even in the sphere of religion and spirituality: 

Key Search Words:  For the Uninitiated, Navigating the Worldwide Web
Will Lead to Thy Child’s Face When the Appropriate Vocabulary is Used
Abuse of Young Boys
Crosier Rape Boys Onamia
Altar Boy
Innocent Nude Boys
African Boy Nude
Knights of Columbus Pedophile
Athletes Naked in Locker Rooms
Naked High School Boys Locker Room
Bottom Boys
1979 Boy Nude
Boy Crotch
Nude Black American Boy Picture
Boy Nudist 1980
Nude Boy
Nude Child Boys
Boys Group Nudity
Nude Swimmers
Boy Group Nude
Nudist Boy Hiking
Boy Naked Puberty
Passion Play Students
Boy Was Undressed
Pedophile Priest in Jefferson City Diocese
Boys Undressed
Priests Naked
Boys Young Cartoon Sex
Rubber Nuns
Boy Zulu Naked
Sex I Thy
Bruce Weber Boyish Girl
Summer in Shorts 1970
Candid Crotch Pics
Undressed Boy
Central Mo. Correctional Center
Young Boys Posing Nude
Childs Face Fucking
Young Cute Shirtless Irish Boy

Last Updated:  02/19/2014

Kueppers Fails to Deliver on Promises to the Police
Gillet is quite descriptive about the evidence to be discovered the Chancery’s banker’s box, particularly the manifest and other documents that tally the total contents:

“Sometime in the fall of 2012 [she] found a ‘white banker’s box’ in the vault of the rectory office of the archdiocese.  [She] found the box to contain (3) computer discs that contained ‘thousands of image’ and numerous documents and reports relative to the computer content and made reference to several search terms including ‘naked boy pics,’ ‘hard core teen boys,’ “eastern European teen boys’ and ‘helpless teen boys.’  When [she] brought these items to the attention of Father Peter Laird (Vicar General of [the] Archdiocese) she was instructed to ‘put them back in the vault.’”  

When Gillet first approached Kueppers and Eisenzimmer in March and requested the banker’s box, “Eisenzimmer was visibly upset with the request and asked the name of the priest in question which at this time we did not have,” Gillet wrote.

“Eisenzimmer went so far as to say that he needed to know which property we were talking about. We were surprised with this as it suggested to us the possibility that there might be more than one case of pornographic materials the church was dealing with and so we asked for clarification. Eisenzimmer seemed to backpedal somewhat and said no, that he believes he knows who the priest is,” Gillet wrote.

The officers said they would call back with the name of the priest, and the archdiocese officials agreed to turn over the property.

“Kueppers very clearly said that no property or evidence would be destroyed and he would make sure it was held until we contact him further,” Gillet wrote.

Honor among Thieves:  Jennifer Haselberger (right), vice chancellor-canonical affairs (2008-2013), reported serial sexual predators to Twin Cities civil authorities as her former colleagues at the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis worked in concert to withhold (allegedly) evidence and conceal other information pertinent to the Jonathan Paul Shelley and Curtis Carl criminal cases.  These less-than-honorable church employees are (left to right):  Joseph F. Kueppers, vice chancellor-civil affairs; Andrew J. Eisenzimmer, vice chancellor-civil affairs and legal counsel, 2005-2013; and the Rev. Peter A. Laird, vicar general, 2009-2013.

The next day, 6 March 2013, Gillet contacted Kueppers, saying he needed the evidence.  Kueppers said Thomas B. Wieser, legal counsel for the archdiocese, would call that afternoon to release it.  When Wieser, an employment law specialist with the Minneapolis law firm of Meier, Kennedy, Quinn, had not called by 2:30, Gillet called him.  Wieser said he would release the material later that day or the next day.

On 7 March 2013, Gillet received a voice message from Wieser saying that three computer discs were ready for pickup, but that he wouldn’t release the written material.  The delivered discs contained only adult porn.

Wieser, as to be expected labeled Haselberger "a disgruntled former employee."  Haselberger resigned and filed a deposition a Roseau County court case, because archdiocese officials did not tell police about potential crimes of Shelley and the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer.

The Missing Computer Disc
Thomas B. Wieser
Meier, Kennedy, and Quinn
Minneapolis, Minn.
A question about missing a computer
disc and images that the archdiocese
was to turn over to the police remains
Haselberger intimated
in court that some information the
banker’s box is missing:  evidence
of tampering.

Haselberger said the archdiocese hired
Richard Setter of Richard Setter and
Associates, a private investigation firm
in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn
Park.  Setter, in turn, hired a forensic
expert named Gary Johnson to examine
the computer.

What we do not understand is why the St. Paul police were so timid with Archbishop Nienstedt and Chancery functionaries.  Why was no search warrant issued? 

According to Sgt. Gillet’s report, Johnson, the forensic expert, “was instructed to view only some of its contents.” Johnson’s report indicated that he found 2,300 images, including those of a young boy performing oral sex on another male.

In the initial investigation, authorities found only adult pornography on computer discs provided by the archdiocese.

But a private investigator hired by the archdiocese concluded that some images were “borderline illegal, because of the youthful looking male image.”

The archdiocese refused to give its investigator’s report to
the police.
Police Report:  Sgt. William T. Gillet described Andrew J.  Eisenzimmer, vice
chancellor- civil affairs (2005-2013), as “visibly upset” in his report
about the
request for the “white banker's box” containing evidence related
to the
Jonathan P. Shelley Case.

Despite these issues, St. Paul police earlier complained of foot-dragging by archdiocese officials in responding to their efforts to get information.

Gillet’s expressed uncertainty in his report about what the archdiocese turned over.

“Whether these discs given to me were the actual discs or copies of those discs after first asking for them, I do not know nor will I most likely ever know,” Gillet wrote.

Wieser, eventually, turned over Gillet’s police report to the judge, asking that it be entered into the court record only if sealed, to protect Shelley’s identity.  Shelley was identified in court as “J.S.”

Jonathan Paul Shelley
In another court document, Haselberger expressed her concern to Nienstedt about Shelley.  Haselberger also discusses in May 2012 letter to Nienstedt the matter of the archdiocese in 2004 asking Shelley to allow church officials to examine two of his personal computers.

“When he received that request, Father Shelley immediately destroyed one of the computers, and while he initially indicated he would permit an analysis of the third computer, he changed his mind and never provided the archdiocese with access to it,”
Haselberger wrote.

Shelley was pastor at St. Jude of the Lake parish in Mahtomedi when the porn was found. He was temporarily suspended because of “an allegation of inappropriate activity” September 2004.

The Rev. Peter A. Laird, Vicar General 2009-2013, resigned after more court testimony in October revealed that he conspired with Eisenzimmer to protect this ordained sexual predator. 

Outside Review or Smoke Screen
An assistant Washington County attorney apparently accepted this report at face value rather than follow up on Haselberger’s claim about missing evidence. 

As a result, Washington County prosecutor Pete Orput is able to say that the investigators found no evidence of a crime when they examined computer files that once belonged to Shelley and conclude none of the images depicted minors. 

On 9 October 2013, police gave the disks to the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). A forensic examiner sent all 1,303 images to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), “which maintains an enormous pictorial and textually identifying database of pornography involving known minors from throughout the world,” according to a memorandum issued by Washington County prosecutor Pete Orput to the St. Paul Police.
Police Report:  Sgt. William T. Gillet describes the content of the “white banker's
box” pertaining to the Jonathan P. Shelley case and his interaction with the Rev.
Peter A. Laird, vice general (2009-2013)
In the memorandum, dated 22 January 2014, explaining why Shelley would not be charged, Orput wrote that investigators from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, St. Paul police and his own child abuse specialist all looked at the files and agreed they are not child pornography.

Orput also used the fallback option when confronting child abuse and the Church:  statute of limitations.

Even if the images on the Shelley’s computer are minors and children, Orput states in his memorandum to the St. Paul Police, the statute of limitations has expired on such evidence.  No mention the missing computer discs or other documentation from the banker’s box.

Orput further stated that St. Paul Police investigators “concluded that they did not believe there were any minors depicted on the images on the disks”; and the forensic computer examiner “concluded there were five images where it was unclear whether the images depicted were adults.”

Orput’s memorandum to the St. Paul Police, which states, in part:

“We have found in our experience that without a NCMEC finding of minors present in the images as well as it being readily apparent, from a common sense point of view, that minors are present in the sexually explicit images, that child pornography prosecutions cannot be brought. That, together with the opinions of the three experienced investigators and experienced prosecutor in this subject matter ratifying NCMEC’s finding, it is the conclusion of this office that no child pornography, as defined by Minnesota statute, exists on the disks in question.”
Ramsey County Prosecutor John Choi declined 29 January 2014 to charge leaders of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis for their efforts to shield the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer, a St. Paul priest accused in 2012 of molesting two brothers.   Choi said his office had insufficient evidence to show that Archbishop Harry J. Flynn and Archbishop John C. Nienstedt failed to report the sexual molestation of children.  Choi also said the archdiocese needs to do better in its reporting of abuse claims. 

John Choi
Ramsey County Prosecutor
St. Paul, Minn.
Wehmeyer, formerly a priest at Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, was sentenced in February to five years in prison for sexually abusing two boys and possession of child pornography. 

“I continue to be troubled by some of the church’s reporting practices,” Choi said. “Elaboration on that point is for another day.”

We can only guess that 2014 is an election year.  Orput and Choi do not need this type of publicity on their plate when wooing Catholic voters.  Orput also teaches at
St. Mary’s University.

Orput’s campaign literature touts that since he took office in 2011 he has “established an aggressive program fighting truancy in an effort to keep our kids in schools so they don’t end up in our criminal justice system . . . [and] We have prioritized violent and career offenders, complex crimes and human trafficking for particularly aggressive prosecution attention . . .”

NCMEC’s review “concluded that none of the images were those of known images of child pornography,” according to Gillet’s report.  St. Paul police had reopened the case after receiving a backup copy of the images from a man who acquired Shelley’s old computer a decade ago.

Nienstedt, Shelley, and Child Pornography
Unlike Gaydos, Higley, and Doyle, the Twin Cities case is even more unsavory:  an incident of passionate celibacy that led to the resignations of a number of chancery officials.  But Nienstedt remains ensconced.

According to Haselberger’s testimony, nine years after Shelley’s activities were first reported to the Chancery, Nienstedt drafted a letter to the Vatican, dated 29 May 2012, asking whether pornography found on Shelley’s personal computer could “expose the archdiocese, as well as myself, to criminal prosecution?”  The former vice chancellor for canonical affairs provided a copy of the letter to the St. Paul police.

William Cardinal Levada
The letter, addressed to William Cardinal Levada, provides more detail about the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of arch-
diocese officials regarding the discovery
of Shelley’s computer (more than 1,300
images were examined by the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children,
but St. Paul police
allowed the Archdiocese
to select
the images for review with
additional files held back by church
officials).  Nienstedt adds that pornographic
images were found on the Rev. Shelley’s
computer hard drive before he became
archbishop:  an effort to minimize
personal responsibility.  

A representative of the Archdiocese said the correspondence was never mailed to Levada, according to media reports.  Therefore, Nienstedt was able include a line in the 2012 correspondence that he was “unable to comment as to why this matter was not reported to you at that time,” as required by a papal order of 2001.

Nienstedt’s correspondence to Levada also highlights the fact that before Shelley’s 1995 ordination Archbishop Flynn was
aware of:

“Concerns were brought to the attention of the
archdiocese regarding then seminarian/Deacon
Shelley and his interactions with teenage male
retreatants at Dunrovin Retreat Center. No sexual
contact between Father Shelley and the young men
was alleged, but a fellow counselor at the Retreat
Center reported that Father Shelley wrestled with
the boys in the swimming pool and otherwise had
difficulties maintaining proper boundaries between
himself and the (boys).

“This was investigated, determined to be a matter
of poor judgment, and Father Shelley was allowed
to proceed in formation.”

Other events leading to questions about Shelley include his allowing an 18-year-old parishioner to live in the parish offices during a dispute with his parents.

But we look forward to the day when our politicians and legal authorities will finally acknowledge the fact that Canon Law is not exempt from oversight and that this code has no more authority in civil society than the by-laws of a country club.

Until then we pose the same question as the New York Times columnist Frank Buni: 

“Just how flagrant does a pedophile need to be before the people around him contact the police? Just how far beyond seeming to force himself on a boy in a shower or loading up his laptop with photos of little girls’ crotches does he have to go?” 


Further Reading: