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“I had the impression that all of that was taken care of by my predecessor,” Flynn said.
When asked whether more priests were accused of child abuse after 2002, Flynn said, “I — right now I can’t — I can’t remember any.”
Flynn said he did not report any charges of clergy sex abuse to police during his 13-year tenure, nor did he know whether anyone on his staff did.
Churches where the abusers had served were not routinely informed of an offender in their midst. “I don’t think there was any systemic approach to it, but there could have been a disclosure of one name or two names or more than that to a parish or group,” he said.
Payments to abusers
But Flynn did recall that the archdiocese made special payments to priests who had been credibly accused of abusing children. “I felt very strongly that they would not be able to get jobs very easily, and so I wanted to give them some help,” he said.
Flynn said he couldn’t remember how many priests received the special payments, adding, “I couldn’t take a guess.”
Flynn said he wasn’t sure why he didn’t publicly release the names of clergy members credibly accused of abusing children. If the goal was to protect children, wouldn’t disclosure have been the best option? Anderson asked.
“As we look back on it now, the answer to that would be yes,’’ Flynn said. “But we cannot forget that we were in uncharted water at that time after the charter. And I think that since that time, many improvements have been made in recognizing names of those who had been credibly — credibly accused.”
Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511