‘I Didn't Know Sex With Children Was a Crime:’ Archbishop Robert Carlson

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Veiled women walk past door of church in Seidnaya, in west Damascus
Veiled women walk past the door of a church in Seidnaya, in west Damascus June 8, 2014. The Syrian Ministry of Tourism organized on Sunday (June 8) a trip for journalists, artists and public figures to the historic city Seidnaya, west Damascus, according to the ministry. This trip is one of several to be organized in order to promote internal tourism to safe places and cities around the country that has been undergoing war for more than three years. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

Archbishop Robert Carlson said that he was not sure if sex with children was a crime.

The St. Louis Archbishop, who is involved in a sex abuse scandal which had taken place in the 1980s, said in court that he had not been aware back then that it was against the law for priests to have sex with children. The video depiction of the court statement was released on Monday, June 9.

According to NBC News, the former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul was ousted after the lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota has taken place. The court video, released by the St. Paul law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, shows Carlson responding to the question if he had been aware that it was a crime to engage in sexual activities with a child. "I'm not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not," Carlson said. "I understand today it's a crime." He was also asked when it was the first time that he realised that sex with a child was a crime. "I don't remember," the 69-year-old priest said.

Carlson was in charge of investigation of sexual abuse claims during his tenure as the archbishop. He admitted earlier that he had not contacted police even though a clergy member confessed getting involved in inappropriate sexual behaviour. Attorney Jeff Anderson, representing an alleged clergy abuse victim, released documents that indicated that the archbishop had been aware of the gravity of child abuse accusations in 1984. One of the documents shows that he wrote to then-Archbishop John Roach to inform him that the parents of one of the alleged victims was planning to contact police.

Carlson was asked 193 times in May if he could remember any conversation between the 1980s and mid-1990s, where such topics had been discussed. He replied negatively every time. He had "no knowledge of the discussion," he said.


Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@ibtimes.com.au

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