The investigation should have remained private, at least until the results were known. He is not accused of a crime. According to a canon lawyer consulted by Commonweal, there is no precedent for the type of investigation being done on Nienstedt. Moreover, the investigation is being conducted at Nienstedt’s request.
Here is the statement which Archbishop Nienstedt released:
Upon my direction, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is conducting an internal investigation involving allegations made against me. These allegations are absolutely and entirely false. Nonetheless, I ordered Bishop Lee Piché to oversee an independent, thorough investigation and that he hire an outside firm unaffiliated with the Archdiocese to conduct the investigation.
The allegations do not involve minors or lay members of the faithful, and they do not implicate any kind of illegal or criminal behavior. The allegations involve events alleged to have occurred at least a decade ago, before I began serving in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
I have ordered that the investigation be conducted for the benefit of the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese investigates all allegations of clergy misconduct. It would be unfair to ignore these allegations simply because I know them to be false. Since I would instruct the Archdiocese to investigate similar allegations made against any priest, I have ordered the Archdiocese to independently investigate the allegations made against me.
The investigation is ongoing. The Apostolic Nuncio, who oversees all bishops in the United States, has been informed of the allegations and he will be informed of the results of the investigation when it is completed. Let us pray that the truth will come out as a result of the investigation.