ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMOX) – 193.
That’s how many times St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson answered questions with some form of the phrase “I don’t remember” during a deposition last month regarding how he handled allegations of abuse against a Minnesota priest when he was there in the 1980s.
Transcripts of the deposition were released on Monday.
This case happened in 1984, when Carlson was an Auxiliary Bishop in the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese. The plaintiff’s attorney asked Archbishop Carlson if he knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child.
“I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Archbishop Carlson responded. “I understand today it’s a crime.”
Then, he was asked when he first did discern it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child.
“I don’t remember,” he says.
St. Louis Archdiocesan officials say while not being able to recall his knowledge of the law exactly as it was many decades ago, Archbishop Carlson made it clear he knows child sex abuse is a crime today—and he sees it as a most egregious offense.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) describes Archbishop Robert Carlson’s deposition statements as “mind-boggling,” “stunning,” and “shocking.”
“That Archbishop Carlson says he doesn’t know when he figured out it was a crime to rape a child—that is a frightening statement,” says SNAP’s Barbara Dorris.
Dorris says that Archbishop Carlson contradicted himself by claiming he didn’t know it was a crime, but also admitting that he advised a bishop to claim memory loss if asked about any case.
She adds that the organization fears Carlson is “teaching others how to avoid prosecution.”
The deposition can be viewed in full here.
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