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Canon lawyer outlines her cover-up claims of clergy sex abuse by Minneapolis Catholic leaders

A church lawyer is making her most detailed allegations yet about a cover-up of clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Jennifer Haselberger says in an affidavit released today that archbishops and staff ignored the 2002 pledge by Roman Catholic bishops to keep abusive clergy out of parishes.

Haselberger spent five years as the top adviser on canon law to Archbishop John Nienstedt.

She says when she started in 2008, she discovered about 20 clergy in ministry who were guilty of sex misconduct with adults and children. At the time, she said most priests hadn't had background checks since the early 1990s, and church monitors mostly relied on self-reporting by offenders.

A task force Nienstedt formed to investigate has acknowledged serious mistakes by the archdiocese.

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