ST. PAUL, Minn. - The top cop in the capital city says the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has not cooperated recently with investigations involving alleged sexual misconduct in the church.
St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith told a group of reporters Tuesday that church officials have denied access to clergy staff.
"If you want to talk to somebody you to have open up your door and be able to talk to somebody," said Smith. "We have, through written and verbal requests, made clear our desire to speak to individuals connected to the archdiocese. We've been told no."
In recent cases of alleged sexual misconduct in the archdiocese, Smith claimed lawyers for the church have talked to police but investigators have been unable to talk to clergy staff members.
"Such as Father Kevin McDonough who was a Vicar General for some time at the archdiocese and he's respectfully declined our request through his attorney," he said.
McDonough was not available to comment before deadline.
In a statement released to KARE 11, archdiocesan officials said they could not speak for McDonough's decision not to talk but "the archdiocese seeks to cooperate with the police and all civil authorities".
Police and church officials scheduled a meeting Wednesday.
"We look forward to the meeting, which will include not only an attorney but also our new Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Fr. Charles Lachowitzer, as was requested by Chief Smith," the statement read.
The statement went on to read that church officials hope to "better understand the requests for information in greater detail" during Wednesdays meeting.
The chief's frustrations come the same day the archdiocese announced the St. Paul Police Department is investigating a boy's claim that Archbishop John Neinstedt touched the boy inappropriately on the buttocks during a group photo session in 2009.
Neinstedt denies any wrong doing. Smith tells KARE 11 police have yet to contact Neinstedt about the allegation against him since they were told by a church employee Monday afternoon of the incident.
"Today the archdiocese has voiced its commitment to cooperation. And let me tell you this, I expect nothing less," said Smith.
Charles Reid, an expert on Catholic law at the University of Saint Thomas, talks about the issues facing the St. Paul Minneapolis Archdiocese. KARE