A priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who was investigated after pornography was found on his computer has been reinstated to limited ministry.
The Rev. Jonathan Shelley was never charged with a crime. He was removed from active ministry in 2012 after sexually explicit images were found on a discarded computer that had belonged to Shelley, who served in Mahtomedi at the time.
A parishioner who discovered the downloaded images gave the hard drive to the archdiocese in 2004. Some reports said the images contained child pornography. But after the files were analyzed by state and federal investigators, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said in 2014, “We’ve declined to prosecute the case, as there’s no criminal evidence we can find.”
A statement Thursday from Archbishop Bernard Hebda said Shelley will return to ministry to serve people who are in prisons and jails in the archdiocese.
Shelley will serve under the direction and guidance of a deacon and will be subject to the security and oversight procedures of the state prison system and any county jails he visits, the statement said.
In the statement, Hebda said the archdiocese’s Ministerial Review Board had discussed Shelley’s case and recommended that he be allowed to return to ministry in a limited capacity.