Archbishop Steps Aside Amid Sexual Abuse Allegation - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Archbishop Steps Aside Amid Sexual Abuse Allegation

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(WCCO) - The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Tuesday an allegation of inappropriate touching has been brought against Archbishop John Nienstedt.

According to the Archdiocese, Nienstedt is accused of inappropriately touching a young boy on the buttocks during a group photo session after a confirmation ceremony in 2009.

Nienstedt has denied the allegation but will step aside from public ministry, effective immediately, while an investigation into the incident takes place.

Once the Archdiocese learned of the allegations, they contacted police. They said in a statement on their website that they are ready to fully cooperate with the St. Paul Police's investigation.

In a letter to the ministry, Nienstedt said he does not know the individual involved in the allegations but presumes "he is sincere in believing what he claims."

That said, he said the allegation is "absolutely and entirely false."

"I have never once engaged in any inappropriate contact with a minor and I have tried to the very best of my ability to serve this Archdiocese and the church faithfully, with honor and due regard for the rights of all, even those with whom I disagree," he states.

Nienstedt also states he has met victims of sexual abuse and knows the lasting damage that can cause.

He finishes the letter asking for prayers for the individual who made the allegations and prayers for himself.

Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche will cover all the Archbishop's public duties during this time.

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