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Archdiocese Hires Law Firm for Clergy Review - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Archdiocese Hires Law Firm for Clergy Review

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The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has selected Kinsale Management Consulting to conduct a third-party review of clergy files.

A statement posted on the Archdiocese website said:

"We are confident in the credentials and relevant expertise of Kinsale Management Consulting to conduct a thorough review of our clergy files," said Fr. Reginald Whitt, O.P., the Vicar of Ministerial Standards.  "Our number one goal was to find someone with extensive experience and expertise nationally in this area, and Kinsale certainly has those qualities."

Kinsale was founded by Kathleen McChesney, Ph.D., the former number three official at the FBI and head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Child and Youth Protection.

The review will start next month with files of all clergy in active ministry. Kinsale will conduct an initial assessment before determining how long the review will take.

Earlier this month Archbishop John Nienstedt announced plans to release the names, locations and status of all living priests who have substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor.

In an open letter posted online Nienstedt said:

"Serious mistakes have been made in the archdiocese's handling of abuse cases. Offering expressions of regret and sorrow seems so inadequate in the context of the crimes of the offenders and our failures to deal with them properly. And yet, I must say how sorry I am. My heart is heavy for the victims of this repugnant abuse."

Statement Regarding Hiring of Outside Firm for Clergy File Review

As part of the plan to ensure a comprehensive approach to address the issue of clergy sexual misconduct, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced it has retained Kinsale Management Consulting in fulfillment of Archbishop John Nienstedt's stated intention to hire an outside firm to conduct a third-party review of clergy files.

After evaluating the credentials of a number of nationally-recognized firms with established and appropriate expertise, Kinsale was hired.  "We are confident in the credentials and relevant expertise of Kinsale Management Consulting to conduct a thorough review of our clergy files," said Fr. Reginald Whitt, O.P., the Vicar of Ministerial Standards.  "Our number one goal was to find someone with extensive experience and expertise nationally in this area, and Kinsale certainly has those qualities."

Kinsale was founded by Kathleen McChesney, Ph.D., the former number three official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Child and Youth Protection, where she developed and oversaw a national compliance mechanism to ensure that all Catholic dioceses complied with civil laws and internal policies relative to the prevention, reporting and response to the sexual abuse of minors. Kinsale's review will add another level of accountability and - most importantly - will further serve the Archdiocese's primary goal of protecting minors.  Kinsale's file review process is slated to begin in early December and will start with a review of all clergy in active ministry. Once the Kinsale team is on board and can do an initial assessment, they will be able to provide an estimate of the timeframe required to complete their work.   

"Dr. McChesney and her team bring an extraordinary depth of experience, background in law enforcement and the investigation of crimes against children, and dedication to their work in both religious and secular organizations.  Their expertise and leadership in addressing the problem of abuse of minors will ensure that Kinsale's review of our clergy files will be objective and thorough," said Archbishop John Nienstedt. "With the benefit of this level of review, we will proceed confidently with ongoing disclosure." Dr. McChesney has thirty years of law enforcement experience and innate talent for inspiring collaboration and change.  She created the FBI's Office of Law Enforcement Coordination to establish more productive relationships between the FBI and the nation's 18,000 police agencies, and the National Intel Share project to promote information sharing among the nation's 680,000 law enforcement officers.  She managed the FBI's international operations in 44 foreign countries and spearheaded the FBI's efforts to add 11 additional offices through interactions with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Congress.  

Kinsale most recently completed a review for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice regarding the incidence of sexual abuse of youth incarcerated in its facilities resulting in a public report and recommendations for protection of youth. 

The Archdiocese has previously announced it would seek to hire an outside firm to do the file review. Archbishop Nienstedt stated that this step will contribute to prudent and ongoing disclosure.  The Archdiocese recently confirmed its decision to disclose the names, locations and status of all living priests of the Archdiocese who have substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor, regardless of where they are currently residing. 

As outlined in the archbishop's November 7 column in The Catholic Spirit, the Archdiocese has pledged to accomplish four goals: creating safe environments for children; caring for those who have been harmed by a member of the Church; facilitating a healing process for our local church in order to restore trust with the Catholic faithful; and lastly, restoring trust with clergy who are serving nobly and with honor.  With the hiring of Kinsale, the Archdiocese continues to fulfill its promise to take action to address the questions and concerns raised by our communities. Kinsale's work will assist us in meeting these goals.  

"As archbishop, I am responsible for addressing these issues and I take this matter very seriously. Along with the work of the independent task force, our commitment to disclosure and the critical review of our monitoring program, Kinsale's thorough file review will assist us in creating a new day for this archdiocese in our work to create safe environments where the Gospel of Jesus Christ can flourish," Nienstedt said. "Nothing is more important."

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