ST. PAUL, Minn. - A task force charged with independently investigating clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will have limited access to information about priests.
The task force will not investigate allegations against specific priests, and priest files will not be made public, according to an Oct. 21 letter to clergy by the Rev. Reginald Whitt.
Whitt, chosen by Archbishop John Nienstedt to create the task force, will control the panel's access to information about clergy abuse. "Access to these files will be within my control, and limited only to what is necessary for the Task Force to be able to make an informed decision with respect to their policy review," he wrote.
The letter appears to contradict Nienstedt's characterization of the task force as independent. It also raises the question of how the task force will be able to make fully informed decisions without access to all information.
Nienstadt, who appointed Whitt to create the task force, earlier characterized the panel's work as an independent review of clergy abuse. Nienstadt told Minnesota Public Radio the task force would have "unprecedented authority to examine any and all issues associated with clergy sexual abuse."
Archdiocese spokesman Jim Accurso added the panel "will provide a truly independent analysis from a group of outside and impartial experts."
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