Archbishop John Nienstedt is not a happy man one would presume and he does not deserve to be according to many. The investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct with other adult members of the clergy has, instead of dying down, taken on a new life. The Archdiocese has hired a criminal defense attorney who is in charge of the investigation now originally begun by a Twin Cities law firm.
This highly recommended criminal defense attorney is none other than Peter Wold, who will be continuing the investigation already completed by the law firm Greene Espel. The law firm had already put down its findings in July this year, the details of which have not yet been made public. Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche confirmed the news on Monday about the hiring.
Treading old ground, again
In the days since his appointment, which of course did not fail from raising a few eyebrows all over the Archdiocese and the Christian world, Wold knows one man closely―the former archdiocese priest Joel Cycenas. Cycenas is also a prominent figure in the investigation since he is known to be close to the Archbishop, and also because he filed an affidavit in the misconduct allegation earlier this year.
Cycenas admits to having met Wold earlier this week. He said that he had some concerns when he was made to feel that the new investigating team under Wold’s direction was trying to discredit his own affidavit. But even though he was pressed hard to do so, the former priest declined from spilling out the contents of the affidavit or answering any further questions.
When he was interviewed the first time around last summer, the Archbishop has denied any wrongdoing and said that he had a purely friendly relationship with Cycenas. Cycenas too was interviewed by Green Espel’s criminal defense attorneys earlier in the year. He was ordained in 2000, and he became a parish priest some years later. Nienstedt had acknowledged that they were good friends, but the friendship dissolved in 2009 when he left the parish.
Archdiocese feels some details need further looking into
According to the Auxiliary Bishop, Wold has been retained as the Archdiocese feels he can help wrap up some of the ‘remaining details’ of the previous investigation. However, Piche was reluctant to share details of both the initial investigation as well as the ongoing enquiry as he said there was no use in discussing the matter at hand and it would indeed be a disservice to those involved if the investigation’s findings were to be made public.
Allegations dates back decades
The Archdiocese has been put in a bad spot ever since ten of its members came forward last year to allege that the Archbishop had behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner with them while they were seminaries or priests in the church. Those who refused his advances or questioned the Archbishop’s moves were punished, says the whistleblower who was interviewed by the Green Espel law firm earlier. The allegations are not recent―they date as far back as the 1980’s when the Archbishop was a member of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Archbishop John Nienstedt, according to many, should lose his post and be denounced by the holy and righteous Catholic church.