The 1980’s were a crazy time — so crazy, in fact, that apparently there was some ambiguity in the Catholic church about laws regarding sex and children, at least according to the St. Louis Archbishop who has found himself deeply involved in one of the Catholic church’s many, many abuse scandals.
Archbishop Robert Carlson, former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, testified last month that he was unaware in the 1980s that it was illegal to have sex with a child. At the time, it was Carlson’s responsibility to investigate allegations of sex abuse in the church.
In a video released by the law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, who is representing an alleged clergy abuse victim, Archbishop Carlson is asked whether he had known it was a crime for an adult to have sex with a child.
“I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Carlson replied. “I understand today it’s a crime.”
Carlson was asked when he first realized it was a crime for an adult — for a priest — to engage in sexual activity with a child. The Archbishop shook his head and replied, “I don’t remember.”
Carlson admitted in his deposition that he never personally went to police, even when a clergy member admitted to engaging in sexual misconduct with a child.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of St. Louis said, “In this most recent deposition, while not being able to recall his knowledge of the law exactly as it was many decades ago, the Archbishop did make clear that he knows child sex abuse is a crime today,” the statement said. “The question does not address the Archbishop’s moral stance on the sin of pedophilia, which has been that it is a most egregious offense.”