Archbishop Wasn’t Sure Child Molestation Was Illegal

The Archbishop of St. Louis, Robert Carlson, was deposed in a lawsuit over child molesting priests that he helped cover up, said during that deposition that he wasn’t sure that a priest molesting a child was illegal and can’t remember when he found out that it was.

Archbishop Robert Carlson, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the time, was deposed as part of a lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.

In a video released by the St. Paul law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, the Catholic archbishop is 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.

“I don’t remember,” he testified.

I think my face is permanently palmed.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who is representing an alleged clergy abuse victim, also released documents Monday indicating Carlson was aware in 1984 of the seriousness of child abuse allegations. He wrote to then-Archbishop John Roach that parents of one of the alleged victims was planning to go to police.

Carlson’s role at the time was to investigate abuse claims. He admitted in his deposition that he never personally went to police, even when a a clergy member admitted to inappropriate behavior.

In last month’s testimony, Carlson responded 193 times that he did not recall abuse-related conversations from the 1980s to mid-1990s.

Anderson provided a report from a previous deposition in 1987 in which now-deceased Bishop Loras Watters said he advised Carlson to answer “I don’t remember” if questioned in court.

Carlson responded last month that he had “no knowledge of the discussion.”

Yeah, it isn’t too obvious that he’s lying or anything.

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  • Stupidity is not a sin. However, bearing false witness is a sin. His Excellency is a liar.

  • lldayo

    I wonder if he placed his hand on the Bible before taking the stand?

  • anubisprime

    But! but! but!…he is a liar fur jeebus!…(actually the RCC to be accurate)

    How can any judge…not judge …this fucker is a lying toerag?

  • dugglebogey

    Well, since he’s not a cop, not knowing that it’s against the law is no excuse!

    Only cops are allowed to break a law they don’t know is illegal and get away with it.


  • lldayo

    He did, but it did burst into flames. (At least that’s what i heard.)

  • D. C. Sessions

    However, bearing false witness is a sin.

    Fortunately, his are forgiven.

    His Excellency is a liar.

    But in the service of the Church — not only forgiven, but extra credit points.

  • cptdoom

    Yeah, it isn’t too obvious that he’s lying or anything.

    Perhaps, but what he’s clearly not doing is setting himself up for a perjury or obstruction charge, because more what he can’t remember is how many times he acted with full knowledge that the abusive actions of his employees were illegal, but skirted the law anyway. If he gives a time period or date when he knew that the actions were illegal, any actions after that moment are going to get him in legal hot water. He’s clearly been carefully coached by some soul-less corporate hack with a JD who doesn’t care that this client is up to his eyebrows in the ongoing criminal conspiracy to cover up abuse.

  • anne mariehovgaard

    So… he claims he doesn’t remember he was told to say he doesn’t remember? Totally believable.

  • Claudia Sawyer

    Wasn’t that the Reagan shtick?

  • robnyny

    He isn’t the only archbishop who was unaware:

    “We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature,” Weakland says in the book, “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church,” due out in June.

  • He didn’t break the law. He works for a higher law: protecting the reputation (and property) of the Church, as Jesus commanded in Luke*.


    * Luke 17:2 “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck if they don’t cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

  • dingojack

    ‘But, but, but Your Honour, I knew that murdering, raping then eating several minors in the 1980’s was a moral evil, but I had no idea of it’s criminal nature* (but I do now, honest).’

    Yeah – that’s sure to lead to an acquittal. @@



    * funny how they can make a distinction between moral and criminal when it comes to them raping children, but when it’s other people’s (consenting) sexuality they’re all for (what they declare as being) ‘immoral’ automatically being classed as illegal….

  • Is it a crime to beat an archbishop with a baseball bat? I do not know the answer. I will be sure to investigate at some point in the far future.

  • noe1951

    the question that should have been asked wasn’t ‘did you know it was illegal?’ but ‘why the hell didn’t you know it was WRONG?’

  • Moggie


    “We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature,” Weakland says in the book, “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church,” due out in June.

    To be fair, neither wikipedia nor google existed back then. There was literally no way for a bishop to find out whether this act he knew to be wrong was also illegal.

  • dingojack

    theschwa – well it might be a moral issue, but hell, why not beat the crap out him anyway! *



    * it may or may not be illegal, but that’s an issue for the courts (way, way in the future).

  • dingojack

    DEFENDANT: Yes Your Honour I did torture the former Archbishop of St. Louis to death over a three-year period – but there wasn’t Wikipedia or Google then….

    JUDGE: Oh well in that case – I’m dismissing the case summarily.

    I’m sure the Nazis are kicking themselves for going with ‘I was simply following orders’.


  • dingojack

    “And in other news, the Archbishop of St. Louis Robert Carlson, in a sworn deposition to the court, claimed Chewbacca did it, OJ’s glove doesn’t fit him and besides he ate too many Twinkies, therefore he isn’t responsible for child molestation within his diocese. He then went on to make the following impassioned plea.

    The case resumes tomorrow…”


  • busterggi
  • Matt G

    So this guy had never heard the phrase “statutory rape”, or never wondered what it might mean? Sure….

  • freehand

    Claudia Sawyer: Wasn’t that the Reagan shtick?


    Yes. To be fair, he was telling the truth.

  • anubisprime

    These bozos are demonstrably severely stunted in their mental processes at best, they are clearly not very bright in their perfidy, seeing as they have to be told how to lie, intellectually challenged would be an understatement.,

    At worst they are criminally insane with psychotic tendencies…no remorse, no empathy, massive conspirators, even less understanding that their actions are beyond anti-social…it is only their lamentable lack of smarts that throws that possibility into some doubt, whatever either course indicates quite adequately that they are all to a ‘crow’ mentally unstable if not chronically insane.