UPDATE: Carlson’s Deposition Stirs Strong Reactions
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –A crowd of some thirty protestors demonstrated outside the new Cathedral in reaction to Archbishop Robert Carlson’s deposition about his handling of child sexual abuse cases in the 1980s.
“Liar, liar, pants on fire,” said Wendy Casagrande of Foley, Mo.,”God is listening to all this. And this ‘I don’t remember’ is bologna and we all know it.”
Earlier in the day Catholics heading into noon Mass at the new cathedral defended Carlson, calling him “a wonderful bishop,” who has done a lot to combat child sexual abuse. Another man headed to Mass said he believed Carlson may have misspoken in his deposition, but he “forgives him.”
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has issued a statement addressing the controversy surrounding remarks made by Archbishop Robert Carlson in a videotaped deposition released Monday.
The case concerns allegations of abuse against a Minnesota priest in the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese in 1984, when Carlson was an Auxiliary Bishop.
During the deposition, the plaintiff’s attorney asks Archbishop Carlson if he knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child, to which Carlson responds, “I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not. I understand today it’s a crime.”
The statement released by the Archdiocese of St. Louis on Wednesday morning notes that neither Archbishop Carlson nor the Archdiocese of St. Louis is a party to the case.
“Further, the Archbishop has been previously deposed by the same Plaintiff’s counsel on at least three separate prior occasions in the 1980s focused on the activities of the same priest that he was again asked about last month – 27 years later,” the statement reads.
The Archdiocese says that the plaintiff’s lawyer “strategically took Archbishop Carlson’s response to a question out of context” and suggested that he didn’t know that it was a criminal offense for an adult to molest a child.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the Archdiocese says.
The Archidocese says Carlson’s quotes were in regard to his knowledge of Minnesota child abuse reporting statutes, and when clergy became mandatory reporters of abuse allegations—not the legality of sex with a child.
The statement alleges that “recent inaccurate and misleading reporting by certain media outlets has impugned Archbishop Carlson’s good name and reputation.”
It also states that Archbishop Carlson is and has been a leader in the Church when it comes to recognizing and managing matters of sexual abuse involving the clergy.
“As far back as 1980, then-Father Carlson wrote ‘This behavior cannot be tolerated’ in a memo referencing a priest’s abusive actions,” the statement reads.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has described Archbishop Robert Carlson’s deposition statements as “mind-boggling,” “stunning,” and “shocking.”
A portion of the deposition can be viewed below:
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