A St Louis archbishop embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal has claimed he didn’t know it was illegal for priests to have sex with children in the 1980s, according to a court deposition released on Monday.
Archbishop Robert Carlson, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the time, was deposed as part of a sexual abuse lawsuit in Minnesota involving the archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona.
In a testimony filmed last month and released by the St. Paul law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, the Catholic archbishop was asked whether he had known it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child.
‘I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,’ Carlson responded. ‘I understand today it’s a crime.’
When asked when he first realized it was a crime for an adult – including priests – to have sex with a child, Carlson, 69, shook his head.
Yet according to other documents released by attorney Jeff Anderson, who is representing an alleged clergy abuse victim, Carlson showed clear knowledge that sexual abuse was a crime when discussing incidents with church officials during his time in Minnesota.