The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

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:

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