Twin Cities: Group Questions Archdiocese's Accounting of Abuse Expenses

Associated Press
Downloaded February 28, 2003

The Minnesota chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests sent a letter Thursday night to Archbishop Harry Flynn requesting that the archdiocese open personnel and financial records for public scrutiny.

The support group also asked Flynn, head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, to appoint victims of abuse to its clergy review board.

MNSNAP is contesting the archdiocese's claim that it spent more than $3 million in expenses related to clergy sexual abuse in the past 14 years, which was first reported last week by the archdiocese's newspaper, the Catholic Spirit.

MNSNAP claims the actual figure is $8.8 million, spokesman Michael Wegs said.

A message left Thursday evening by the Associated Press at the archdiocese's office was not immediately returned.

"The archdiocese cannot deny the true financial cost in its handling of its pedophile priests," Wegs said.

Wegs said the archdiocese attempted to minimize costs by breaking out the real numbers though insurance, clergy benefit and charitable contribution funds.

"The fundamental problem with these expenditures, though, is that archdiocesan management raided what is essentially a pension fund for its priests and then turned to charitable contributions, earmarked for social service programs, to keep its secret for public scrutiny," Wegs said.

MNSNAP is calling for an independent audit of the archdiocese's financial records. Flynn and his predecessors have failed to demonstrate responsible management protocol in critical areas of their organization, Wegs said.


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