Bishop in charge of Twin Cities abuse investigations: I didn't know child sex was crime [VIDEO]
Before he became archbishop in St. Louis, Robert Carlson was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis during the 1980s.
One of his jobs in that role was to handle sex abuse allegations made against Twin Cities priests. So it strains credulity to hear him say during a recent deposition that he didn't know having sex with children was a crime back then.
Here's video of what Carlson said under questioning by Twin Cities attorney Jeff Anderson down in St. Louis during last month's deposition, followed by a transcript:
Anderson: "Archbishop, you knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid."
Carlson: "I'm not sure I knew whether it was a crime or not. I understand today it's a crime."
Anderson: "When did you first discern it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid?"
Carlson: "I don't remember."
Anderson: "When did you first discern that it was a crime for a priest to engage in sex with a kid who he had under his control?"
Carlson: "I don't remember that either."
Anderson: "Do you have any doubt in your mind that you knew that in the '70s?"
Carlson: "I don't remember if I did or didn't."
Anderson: "In 1984, you are a bishop, an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. You knew it was a crime then, right?"
Carlson: "I'm not sure if I did or didn't."
While Carlson's comments are implausible when taken at face value, they're even harder to believe when compared to this 1984 letter written to then-archbishop John Roach in which Carlson discusses a specific sexual abuse allegation against a priest and the statute of limitations (it was recently released publicly by Anderson):
Reached for comment today, Anderson describes Carlson's duties while he was in the Twin Cities as consisting of "investigating and taking [sex abuse allegation] reports, and then basically keeping those reports quiet, appeasing the victims, suppressing the information, removing or transferring the priests and protecting them, to the peril of many obviously."
Anderson says he's conducted 15 depositions with Carlson over the years, during which he's said "I don't remember" in response to nearly 200 questions.
(For more, click to page two.)
"Obviously you're sitting there with the priest, and he admits criminal sexual conduct to you but you say in the memo that the statute of limitations is two-and-a-half years for criminal prosecution and you write that memo to your superior, and then you say you don't remember?" Anderson says. "Come on. It's clearly a perjury in the true legal sense, but do people get prosecuted for lying under oath in depositions? Rarely does that happen. It hasn't happened in my three decades of taking depositions."
"I've taken his deposition 15 times, and it's always the same," Anderson continues. "He doesn't remember anything. If it's in writing, then he doesn't remember writing it."
Anderson says Carlson incriminating deposition will be used as evidence in two Catholic Church abuse scandal trials he has coming up, one next month in St. Louis and another this fall in St. Paul.
h/t -- Riverfront Times
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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