- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Former Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt said he remains “dumbfounded” by allegations of personal misconduct that emerged last year during an internal church investigation, according to a published report Sunday.

“It pains me deeply that my good name and reputation have been put into question by allegations that are entirely false and based wholly on rumor, hearsay, or innuendo,” Nienstedt said last week in written responses to questions from the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1MiDTyn ).

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis commissioned the investigation. The Star Tribune reports the probe looked into claims that Nienstedt had engaged in behavior that was inappropriate for a priest.

Nienstedt resigned June 15 after prosecutors filed charges against the archdiocese for failing to protect children from a priest later convicted of molesting two boys. Nienstedt said he hoped his resignation would “give the archdiocese a new beginning.”

Interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda is considering whether to make the investigation of Nienstedt public. Hebda must balance those demands against the promise of confidentiality granted to those who participated in the investigation.

Hebda has pledged to “resolve the matter in a way that is reasonable and fair.” Nienstedt said he wants the issue behind him so that his name can be cleared.

“It is frustrating, both for me and the public, that this process has gone on for so long,” Nienstedt told the newspaper. “I was dumbfounded because the allegations were so far-fetched and utterly untrue.”

The Star Tribune reports the archdiocese declined to answer questions about the investigation.

If and when the church’s internal investigation is released, Nienstedt said he remains “hopeful that, in the final evaluation, I will be exonerated.”

Since resigning last month, Nienstedt has been spending time with friends and family. He said he would like to “continue in ministry in one form or another.”

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Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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