ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — The retired Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Harry Flynn, has resigned as chair of the University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees, the school announced Saturday, becoming the second leader to quit the board of the Roman Catholic school this month amid fresh criticism of their handling of clergy sexual misconduct cases.
In a statement Saturday, the school said the board accepted Flynn’s retirement as chair and board member at its regular meeting Thursday. The statement also confirmed the board’s vice chair, the Rev. Kevin McDonough, a former vicar general of the archdiocese, resigned from the board Oct. 4.
The statement did not give reasons for Flynn’s or McDonough’s resignation, and university spokesman Doug Hennes declined to comment.
But the statement did say St. Thomas has retained outside counsel to lead an independent investigation of “matters related to clergy sexual abuse allegations that impact the university” and has appointed a special committee to oversee the investigation and review the findings and recommendations.
Flynn had been chair of the board since 1995. McDonough had been on the board since 1991.
In 2006, Flynn and McDonough headed up an archdiocese investigated into allegations that Father Michael Keating fondled a Minnesota girl when she was 13, and had a relationship with a 14-year-old Italian girl.
The archdiocese ended up restricting Keating’s interactions with young adults and adolescents.
Keating has been a professor at St. Thomas since 2005, and lived on campus until last weekend when he went on voluntary leave. It is not clear if Flynn and McDonough ever told university officials about those restrictions.
St. Thomas has hired an outside law firm to investigate the matter. Keating’s attorney, Fred Bruno, says the allegations were discredited back in 2006.
McDonough also resigned from the advisory boards of the St. Thomas School of Law and the university’s Center for Catholic Studies.
Michael Dougherty, a trustee since 2003, will serve as interim chair, while John Morrison, a trustee since 1996, will serve as interim vice chairman. The board expects to elect a permanent chair and vice chair Feb. 13. Timothy Flynn, a trustee since 2006, will chair the oversight committee.
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