MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Archbishop ordered to testify in priest sex abuse case
The Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and his former second-in-command will have to testify under oath about how the church responded to allegations of child sex abuse by local priests. A Ramsey County Judge ordered Archbishop John Nienstedt and former vicar general Kevin McDonough to testify in the case brought by a man who says he was abused by Reverend Thomas Adamson, and that church officials put children and others at risk of abuse by failing to disclose information about priests who had been accused of abuse. The judge also ordered the archdiocese to create a list of all priests accused of sexually abusing minors since 2004, and not just those church officials had determined were credible. Attorneys have also been given access to internal church documents that show how officials handled clergy abuse complaints. The Archbishop's deposition must take place within 30 days, and the list is due February 18.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis issued a written statement after a judge ordered the unprecedented testimony of Archbishop John Nienstedt and former vicar general Kevin McDonough. The statement says that the archdiocese looks forward to working with the Court and all affected parties to promote the protection of children, the healing of victims, and the restoration of trust of the faithful and the clergy who are serving their communities with honor. The judge also ordered the church to compile a list of every priest accused of abusing children, not just those the church deemed credibly accused, and the message from spokesman Jim Accurso says the church will pursue justice for any who are falsely accused.
The head of the Minnesota Farmers Union wants to know if propane companies are engaging in profiteering or price gouging. President Doug Peterson says he doesn't think the local propane suppliers are to blame and they are doing their best to keep people supplied, but there seems to have been a perfect storm that led to propane shortages and he wonders if it was man-made. Peterson wants to know whether the expected domestic demand for the gas was explored before it was exported to other countries, and whether the possible effect of shutting down a propane pipeline in November and December for maintenance was fully contemplated. Peterson says he's been in contact with the state's congressional delegation almost daily and has been in on many meetings where questions are being asked, but so far no real answers have surfaced.
There have been at least two major cases this month of identity theft tied to stolen mail, one in the central Minnesota community of Waite Park and another stretching from St. Paul into western Wisconsin. Both cases included hundreds of pieces of stolen mail and Ramsey County Prosecutor John Choi says it's a growing crime that is tough to prevent, but Minnesotans can take some important steps to reduce their risk. He suggests that Minnesotans avoid sending outgoing mail from their home box, and says having a locked P.O. box is an extra precaution. Two St. Paul men have been charged in the Ramsey County case. Charges have not been filed yet for the Waite Park thefts, which involved more than 1,000 pieces of mail. In both cases the U.S. Postal Service will return the letters and packages to the addressees.
Most people are at least familiar with the name "Moonlight" Graham as a character in the film "Field of Dreams," but fewer people know that "Moonlight" Graham was an actual person, not a fictional character. Known to the people of Chisholm as "Doc" Graham, the Director of Mayo Clinic's Heritage Hall museum Matt Dacy says Archibald Graham is remembered as a beloved hometown physician who would often provide complimentary care to his patients, "Almost like a real life Marcus Welby." Mayo Clinic is producing a documentary about Dr. Graham and his professional association with the renowned health care facility. As a right fielder, "Moonlight" Graham had one of the shortest careers in major league history -- appearing in a single game for the New York Giants on June 29, 1905. "Doc Graham" served the community of Chisholm, though, for more than 50 years.
Newlyweds Justin and Erin Voss are going public with a plea to have their stolen wedding photos returned. The Forest Lake couple got married in January, and last week their wedding photographer's wallet was stolen at The Lodge in Robbinsdale. The wallet contained several SD cards full of their pictures. While they wait, family and friends have shared the shots they took on January 17.
A St. Paul man has been arrested after prosecutors say he threatened to kill a Ramsey County District Court Judge. Investigators say Peter Kalu was angered after he discovered that Judge George Stephenson signed an arrest warrant for probation violation, after Kalu failed to check in with his probation officer, and told a probation office employee that he was going to, "kill him before police could catch me." Kalu was arrested Monday in Judge Stephenson's courtroom, and prosecutors say he had no court appearance and no legal reason for being there. When he was patted down officers found a typewritten note threatening to gun Judge Stephenson down "in front of everybody" before turning himself in to a mental hospital. Kalu is on probation for a 2011 mail theft conviction, and has prior convictions for violating a harassment restraining order, credit card fraud, escaping from custody, and assault.
Charges of felony motor vehicle theft and criminal damage to property have been filed against a 14-year-old boy who took an unattended school bus on a joy ride Monday morning before hitting gas pumps at a station in Roseville. Police Lieutenant Lorne Rosand says the teen told officers he saw an "abandoned bus" and felt compelled to drive it back to the Centerline Bus Company Depot. Actually the driver had gone inside to get a cup of coffee and left the keys in the ignition. Rosand says the boy made it back to the bus company depot, got scared when he saw an employee, left the depot, ran a red light and continued into another gas station when he struck several groups of gas pumps. Authorities say it's very fortunate no one was injured.
A man is hospitalized after a rescue in sub-zero temperatures on the shore of Lake Superior Tuesday morning on the east end of Duluth. Authorities say the car went over a guard rail and fell 50 to 75 feet down to the shore of the lake. It was 13 below zero when crews responded and used a stretcher and rope-haul system to bring the victim up to street level. They say the man was conscious but very cold and there's no immediate information on his condition.
Backers and opponents of PolyMet's proposed copper/nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes clashed at a State Capitol hearing Tuesday, as lawmakers try to decide what "damage deposit" is needed to cover clean-up if something goes wrong. Frank Ongaro with the group Mining Minnesota says rules enacted in the 1990s solidly protect Minnesota taxpayers by requiring mining companies have bankruptcy-proof financial assurance in place to cover all costs of environmental cleanup. Ongaro adds those requirements are adjusted annually if necessary after thorough review. But Betsy Daub with Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness warns the proposed PolyMet mine will require at least 200 years of active water treatment, and similar data for the plant site show water continuing to need treatment at 500 years. A recently-released Draft Environmental Impact Statement has brought the continued conflict to the fore.
Governor Dayton, at Mayo Clinic recovering from hip surgery, promises three-plus million dollars in his supplemental budget proposal to make sure all Minnesota schoolkids can get a hot lunch, even if they can't afford it. Minneapolis D-F-L Senator Jeff Hayden sponsored a bill last year and pledges to renew the push early-on in the 2014 session. But Republican Representative Joe McDonald from Delano says he offered an amendment last year to pay for school lunches by cutting government bureaucracy -- but he says Democrats voted to send more taxpayer dollars to a state agency instead of supporting Minnesota children. Prompting the debate is a new report showing many schools refuse hot lunches to students who can't pay, giving them an alternate lunch instead which is often cold or less nutritious.
The U-S House has passed a bill that would restore cuts to the cost-of-living-adjustment for military retirees under age 62. Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz supported it, but says unfortunately House leaders fund it by pitting veterans against seniors. He proposed a bill that would have paid for restoring veterans' COLA cuts by closing tax loopholes for corporations that use off-shore tax havens. Walz says he opposed the so-called COLA cuts in the Ryan/Murray budget from the beginning and this is a step in the right direction. G-O-P senators proposed tying the legislation to the debt ceiling, but House Republicans are calling for a clean bill they can oppose.