Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Minnesota Sex Abuse Scandal Entangles University of St. Thomas; Leads to Clergy Resignations

The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota has found itself in the middle of the ongoing sex abuse crisis in Minnesota, according to Inside Higher Ed. While none of the allegations of abuse took place at the university, several clergy implicated in the scandal either were employed at the institution or served on its board.

The Most Rev. Harry Flynn, the archbishop emeritus of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese, recently resigned from the board amid allegations that he did not do enough to prevent the abuse. Flynn, according to the university, had served as board chair since 1995.

The board elected Michael Dougherty as interim chair. Dougherty, who has served as a trustee since 2003, said in a press release,“On behalf of the board of trustees, I want to thank Archbishop Flynn for his many years of dedicated service to the board and to the university.”

The Rev. Michael Keating, professor of Catholic studies, is also on leave from the university following the announcement of a lawsuit by a woman alleging abuse in the late 1990s when she was still a minor. Keating’s lawyer has denied the allegations.

The Rev. Kevin McDonough, former vicar general of the archdiocese who investigated allegations against Keating, as well as others, has also resigned from the University of St. Thomas’ board.

The board expects to elect a permanent chair at its Feb. 13, 2014 meeting.

The university has stated that they retained outside counsel to investigate matters related to allegations of abuse impacting the university. They have also appointed a special committee to oversee the investigation. 

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