Victim, former priest accuse Archbishop Carlson of child abuse cover-up

10:39 PM, Jul 26, 2012   |    comments
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Archbishop Robert Carlson.

By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter

St. Louis (KSDK) - A victim of child abuse in the 1980s and a former priest made stunning allegations Thursday regarding St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson.

The allegations center on Archbishop Carlson playing an active role in the cover-up of child sex abuse cases when he worked in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis.

Since his installation in 2009, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has painted Archbishop Carlson as a staunch protector of children from abusive priests.

But Thursday, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Jim Keenan lashed out at Archbishop Carlson who was a bishop at the time Keenan was abused by his parish priest. The abuse allegedly occurred in the 1980s.

"How as a nation did we rally and say go after Penn State? I bet Jerry Sandusky is sitting in jail saying son of a gun, I should have been a priest. I would have gotten away with it. No one could touch me," said Keenan.

On Wednesday, Minnesota's Supreme Court threw out Keenan's case against the St. Paul diocese saying the statute of limitations had run out.

While the case is dead, the story and whether Archbishop Carlson knowingly moved a pedophile priest from parish to parish, continues.

Former priest Jim Fitzpatrick left the diocese to get married in 1973, but took a job as a parish administrator. He says he and others complained for years about Adamson but never went to police because he says he was scared to lose his job.

"Carlson listened to reports about the abuse and at the end of the conversation from two staff members he said, if you go to press or police I will see to it personally that you will never work in this archdiocese or any archdiocese in the country," said Fitzpatrick.

Archbishop Carlson is out of town but the archdiocese issued a statement saying: "In the last two decades Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has become a voice for transparency in clergy sex abuse cases. The experiences he had with reporting clergy misconduct to church leadership in the Archdiocese of St. Paul - Minneapolis in the early 1980's have influenced the way he handles these cases today as an archbishop."

Documents from the 1980s show Bishop Carlson never mentioned contacting police regarding Adamson.

DOCUMENTS: Memos from Carlson 

One memo from Bishop Carlson to his Archbishop, John Roach, is dated July 9, 1984. It states: "I did not go into the sexual activity, but Father Adamson agreed that it probably would be first degree criminal sexual contact."

"It is my recommendation, given the seriousness of our exposure, that the Archdiocese posture itself in such a way that any publicity will be minimized."

Another Carlson memo from June 29, 1984 reads: "The statute of limitations does not run out for 2 ½ years. The mother and father are considering reporting this to the police."

Former Colleagues strongly defend the Archbishop. Fr. Kevin McDonough, a Carlson colleague in Minnesota, credits Archbishop Carlson with helping to break what he called, the culture of clerical secrecy in the archdiocese. He called Archbishop Carlson's work a model of honest, open cooperation with public officials and especially concern for the safety of children thirty years later.


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