The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Tuesday an allegation of inappropriate touching has been brought against Archbishop John Nienstedt.
According to the archdiocese, Nienstedt is accused of inappropriately touching a young boy on the buttocks during a group photo session after a confirmation ceremony in 2009.
Few details have been released regarding this allegation and we must wait for a full accounting of the facts before passing judgment on anyone. However, at face value, it seems very strange that, even if he were disposed toward this type of criminal behavior, a man as prominent as an Archbishop, with a heretofore pristine record, in the context of serial sexual abuse convictions against his clerical coreligionists, would consciously engage in “inappropriate touching” during a public ceremony. While being photographed.
Maybe it did happen as alleged, time will tell. If so, perhaps the photographic record will provide the key evidence? For some reason I’m reminded of this scene from Cheers, from the 1990 episode, “Woody or Won’t He”: