- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015
Pastor to Minnesota archdiocese: Release probe details

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A prominent Catholic pastor has called on the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to release details of an internal investigation into former Archbishop John Nienstedt.

The Rev. John Bauer, head pastor of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, said releasing the details is imperative if the archdiocese is to move forward.

Refusing to share the archdiocese-commissioned investigation, Bauer wrote in an open letter on his blog Thursday, suggests that “the Archdiocese has not been transparent, honest and forthcoming in the information it is has shared with the faithful.”

Bauer cited findings from a Minnesota Public Radio News report that found Nienstedt limited an investigation into his conduct, even though he had authorized it.

MPR reported the law firm hired by the archdiocese took statements that accused Nienstedt of inappropriate behavior, including sexual advances to at least two priests. Nienstedt has denied any inappropriate conduct. He resigned this month after charges were filed against the archdiocese for failing to protect children from a priest later convicted of molesting two boys.

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Ramsey County deputy accused of assaulting police dog

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy is on leave after he was accused of picking up his police dog by the collar, throwing the animal to the ground and repeatedly hitting it.

Brett Berry, 48, of Arden Hills, was charged Friday in Carlton County with animal cruelty and assaulting a public safety dog, both misdemeanors. A court hearing is set for July 23.

The incident allegedly happened June 15, while Berry was staying at the Black Bear Casino and Resort with other sheriff’s deputies for K-9 certification trials, the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://bit.ly/1BKA7dEhttp://bit.ly/1BKA7dE ) reported.

Casino security called the local sheriff’s office for assistance at 3 a.m. after security video footage showed Berry beating the dog.

According to the criminal complaint, casino security asked Berry to leave the resort lounge earlier that evening after customers reported “unwanted advances.”

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Minnesota same-sex marriage pioneer hails high court ruling

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis man who fought for his own same-sex marriage more than 40 years ago is celebrating the landmark Supreme Court ruling that said gay couples can marry anywhere in the country.

In an email to The Associated Press on Saturday, Michael McConnell said the high court affirmed the question he and his partner raised 44 years ago - “same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.”

“For me, I’m a patient man, but 44 years is a long time to wait for this intuitively obvious answer,” McConnell wrote. “Just glad I’m here to experience it.”

McConnell and Jack Baker tried to get a marriage license in Hennepin County in 1970 but were denied. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1972 rejected the men’s Minnesota lawsuit to be the first same-sex couple to legally marry in the U.S. In a one-sentence dismissal, justices rejected the appeal on grounds the plaintiffs lacked a federal issue to resolve.

In 1971, about 18 months after Hennepin County rejected their application, the couple traveled to southern Minnesota’s Blue Earth County, where they obtained a marriage license on which Baker was listed with an altered, gender-neutral name. A Methodist minister then married them. That license was later challenged in court but was never explicitly invalidated by a judge.

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Minneapolis residents speak up about police body cameras

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minneapolis residents are sounding off about plans to equip police officers with body cameras.

The Minneapolis Police Conduct Oversight Commission held its first public hearing on body cameras Saturday in north Minneapolis. Minnesota Public Radio News (http://bit.ly/1BXwS2Ehttp://bit.ly/1BXwS2E ) reports a majority of the 20 people in attendance told the commission they think police should wear body cameras to increase accountability.

Supporters say they believe body cameras will ensure police are not overstepping their authority. But others worry that the city is spending money on cameras instead of directly addressing police misconduct.

The panel will advise Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janee Harteau on the best policies for body cameras. Two more public hearings will be held over the next month. The program is set to roll out next year.

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