Law firm chosen to review Minnesota priest files

Published 9:50 am Friday, November 15, 2013

ST. PAUL — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Thursday that it has named a consulting firm with experience in addressing issues of clergy sex abuse to conduct a review of priest files.

Kinsale Management Consulting, founded by former FBI executive Kathleen McChesney, will begin its review next month, starting with files of all clergy in active ministry, the archdiocese said. Kinsale will conduct an initial assessment before determining how long the review will take.

McChesney also served as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office for Child and Youth Protection, where she developed and oversaw a program to ensure dioceses complied with policies to prevent and report sexual abuse.

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Critics say McChesney is another church insider. David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, added that McChesney will be forced to rely on what church leaders choose to divulge.

“There’s only one outfit with subpoena powers,” Clohessy said. “Only one outfit can get close to the truth. And that is law enforcement.”

The archdiocese said Kinsale’s review will add another level of accountability and help protect children. Archbishop John Nienstedt said her team has experience in investigating crimes against children.

“Their expertise and leadership … will ensure that Kinsale’s review of our clergy files will be objective and thorough,” he said in a statement. “With the benefit of this level of review, we will proceed confidently with ongoing disclosure.”

Nienstedt plans to disclose the names, locations and status of all living archdiocesan priests who have substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor, regardless of where they are currently residing.

McChesney did not have a listed phone number. The archdiocese did not immediately return a message requesting her contact information.