MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For 49 months, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has overseen the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Every six months, they met in court to review the progress in addressing a history of sexual abuse by local priests. Tuesday marked the final meeting between the Attorney’s Office and the archdiocese.
At a press conference Tuesday, Archbishop Bernard Hebda said he was grateful to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office for playing a role in “cultural change.” Working to prevent sexual abuse in the church would never stop, he said.
“This is not a time to relax,” Archbishop Hebda said. “Quite the opposite: hard persistent work.”
In a 27-page cultural assessment report released by the attorney’s office, agreed-upon recommendations are made to the church, including regular external audits and periodic performance reviews of priests.
Joy Hoffman, whose sons were victims of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, applauded her children for fighting for justice.
“I think it has brought us a sense of healing, a sense of hope,” she said.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi also thanked Patty Wetterling, who was in attendance Tuesday, for her involvement in the review process and a long career protecting children.
The abuse scandal grabbed headlines in 2013 when a church whistleblower quit her job and went to the police. Two years later, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy. The state then criminally charged the church and Archbishop Jon Nienstedt resigned.
In 2018, criminal charges were dropped after the church admitted wrongdoing. As part of a bankruptcy reorganization, a $210 million settlement was announced for the nearly 450 victims.