RELIGION

Report: Ex-archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis tried to limit probe into misconduct allegations

FILE - In this July 30, 2014, file photo, St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt speaks at his office in St. Paul, Minn. On Monday, June 15, 2015, the Vatican said Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche after prosecutors charged the archdiocese with having failed to protect children from unspeakable harm from a pedophile priest. Nienstedt, interfered with an investigation by an outside law firm into allegations of his misconduct, Minnesota Public Radio reported Friday, June 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig, File)

FILE - In this July 30, 2014, file photo, St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt speaks at his office in St. Paul, Minn. On Monday, June 15, 2015, the Vatican said Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche after prosecutors charged the archdiocese with having failed to protect children from unspeakable harm from a pedophile priest. Nienstedt, interfered with an investigation by an outside law firm into allegations of his misconduct, Minnesota Public Radio reported Friday, June 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig, File)  (The Associated Press)

A report says the former archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John Nienstedt, interfered with an investigation by an outside law firm into allegations of his misconduct.

Nienstedt authorized the probe in hopes of clearing his name. But Minnesota Public Radio reports (http://bit.ly/1LnNL6v ) the results threatened to ruin it. MPR interviewed several people with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

Several of Nienstedt's top advisers gathered privately in April 2014 to discuss allegations of inappropriate behavior, including sexual advances toward priests. Each adviser agreed he should resign.

A few days later, two auxiliary bishops traveled to Washington to tell the papal ambassador. Soon afterward, the investigation was narrowed to allegations of crimes and grave sins.

Nienstedt resigned this week amid criminal charges against the archdiocese. He has denied interfering.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org