Archbishop "Didn't Know" Child Sex Was Crime

Published 06/10 2014 07:19AM

Updated 06/10 2014 07:27AM

ST. LOUIS -- The current Catholic Archbishop of St. Louis says he was unsure if a priest having sex with a child was a crime back when he was auxiliary bishop in Minneapolis.

The comments by Archbishop Robert Carlson came in a deposition taken last month but released Monday.

It's all part of a lawsuit against a Minnesota priest. But Carlson is not a party to the lawsuit.

"For an adult to engage with sex with a kid?"
"I'm not sure if I knew it was a crime or not."

Matt Karis shook his head after watching the deposition on a reporter's cell phone.

He was raised to believe in the Catholic religion, but he says he doesn't believe that the St. Louis Archbishop didn't know it was a crime for a priest to have sex with a child.
"It's complete...I don't believe those words, I just don't. I have a hard time doing it."

Carlson served as Chancellor of the Twin Cities Archdiocese in the 1980's.

Carlson said under oath that he couldn't recall details about how he handled allegations of abuse against a Minnesota priest.

He also said he never went to authorities after that priest admitted in 1984 that he engaged in criminal sexual contact with a minor,  and then there was this part of the deposition.

"Archbishop you knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid."
"I'm not sure if I knew it was a crime or not."

"It's just disgusting," Karis says.

Despite criticism, attorney Art Margulis says a defense attorney could try to make sense of Carlson's deposition by saying he truly didn't know what constitutes a crime.
"It's quite possible that the archbishop may not have known all of the facts concerning what's been described as a sexual assault."

The archdiocese of St. Louis released a statement Monday.

It says the Archbishop did make it clear in the deposition that he knows child sex abuse is a crime today.

And he also goes on in the deposition to call pedophilia an "egregious offense."

(KSDK for CNN)

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