Church scandals, taking food from children, and return of a Purple Heart(5×8 – 1/30/14)


Where does the church “scandal” go next now that the Ramsey County attorney has determined that there’ll be no charges against the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for not reporting sexual abuse perpetrated at the hands of priests?

Is that it? Are we back to it being another in a long line of nationwide stories about slow-moving church officials appearing to cover up the dirty deeds of its priests?

Writing in his Pioneer Press column today, Ruben Rosario says he’s “sick already of this stuff, for it continues to stain the great majority of the good people of faith.”

But he says he can’t look past Tom Scheck’s story last week about an archdiocese slush fund that was used to help keep the scandal under wraps.

Says Rosario:

St. Paul-based victim attorney Jeffrey Anderson believes both Choi and Smith wimped out in the Wehmeyer case.

Anderson said documents confirm Wehmeyer was given a 28-hour advance by church higher-ups that he would be arrested for the child-abuse allegations. That gave him time, Anderson argues, to remove a camper trailer at the church parking lot where the crimes took place to a storage facility.

Anderson represents Wehmeyer’s two child victims — and perhaps a third not connected to the criminal prosecution — in a potential civil lawsuit against the archdiocese that could be filed within few weeks.

“They had ample evidence,” Anderson said of law enforcement.

Choi, a St. Thomas Academy and Marquette University graduate, grew up Catholic but says he is no longer a practicing Catholic. Smith is a former altar boy with an intense dislike for sex offenders. I believe both men were itching for criminal prosecution, but were handcuffed by current laws.

No doubt, the archdiocese is breathing easier. And yet the stories keep coming. Today, Madeleine Baran’s story shows even more evidence that when made aware of criminal abuse by a priest.

The police, from what her story suggests, didn’t know about the documents and didn’t find them in their recent investigation that didn’t turn up enough evidence for charges against the archdiocese.

Related: Rural Arizona priest removed from ministry after being accused of sexual abuse of minors in ND (Fargo Forum)


For many poor kids, school is the only place to get a decent meal. But in Salt Lake City, school officials took it out on the kids when their accounts — funded by parents — were tapped out.

After the kids picked up their lunches, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, the child-nutrition manager rounded up the food and threw it out.

“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.

Lukes said as far as she knew, she was all paid up. “I think it’s despicable,” she said. “These are young children that shouldn’t be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need to clear up.”

At first, the school superintendent defended the action, then dropped an apology on the district’s Facebook page.

But parents were nearly unanimous in their condemnation and demand that the nutrition manager’s head be served on a platter.

What does any sane, rational, compassionate, and moral person do when they see a hungry child? They FEED them. What did these people do? Gave kids food, then snatched it away and threw it in the trash????? This is moral depravity of the highest order–but sadly, not surprising in a culture that takes from the poor to give more and ever more to the rich . . .


Thumbs up to Mark Kasper and his family in Otsego who found a Purple Heart medal when they were cleaning up around their farm.

It belonged to Pvt. George Johnson, who was killed in Korea on July 23, 1950. He was 17. His Purple Heart and Bronze Star — awarded posthumously — were kept in his parent’s store in Cambridge until they were stolen, WCCO reports.

His younger brother fought tears yesterday when the medals were returned.

Related: A Medal Of Valor, 30 Years In Coming (NPR).


On short notice in Pennsylvania, a fracking opponent in had to appear in court, to answer complaints from a fracking firm, who wanted her barred from anything in her town that is owned by or leased to the firm. The judge granted the order. The problem: Most of her town is owned by or leased to the firm.

Oil Boom: See A Modern-Day Gold Rush In Motion (NPR). You really must take the time to look at these images.


Until I saw this video posted this week by Tom Hicks, I hadn’t considered the many elements of Minnesota that didn’t close down and couldn’t be derailed by the cold weather of recent weeks. Funerals, for example.

Related: St. Paul woman who died of exposure wanted to move someplace warm, sister says (Pioneer Press)

Chick-fil-A gives free food to motorists stranded in Southern snowstorm (Fox News) h/t: Nick Cross.

Stranded Drivers Rely on Good Samaritans to Stave Off Danger, Hunger During Winter Storm (


Bonus I: Let’s face it: We love stories that rank Minnesota and its cities well. How else can we explain the fascination with the methodology-challenged “survey” that shows Saint Paul is the most romantic city in America?

But there’s another survey out that suggests there’s work to be done for the faithful. Minneapolis ranks only 53rd in “Bible-mindedness.” The survey, from the Bible search site, Bible Gateway, says, however, that Minneapolis’ rank is 22 spots better than a year ago, when the ranking put us closer to hell than heaven, apparently.

The most recent American Bible Society ranking, on the other hand, puts Minneapolis at #75 on the list of 100 cities. Both lists put Providence, Rhode Island at the bottom.

Bonus II: For some reason, we can’t resist passing along fun pokes at the public radio audience. What’s wrong with us?

Bonus III: Surprising your football-loving mother with Super Bowl tickets: priceless.


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: The big picture look at next-gen sequencing.

Second hour: Controlling synthetic drugs.

Third hour: Ann Dowsett Johnston, author of “Drink.”

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm) – Author Amy Tan, speaking in Minneapolis at the Hennepin County Library’s “Talk of the Stacks” series. Her new book is “The Valley of Amazement.”

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – Will the future of robots and humans be one of perfect technological harmony?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – A growing body of research identifies a strong link between health and housing. If your home is unaffordable or your living situation unstable, your health could suffer. Health insurers are taking note. Some are even committing substantial funding to connect low-income folks to better housing options. MPR’s Annie Baxter will have the story.

The world’s first commercial spaceport needs a home near the equator. Brownsville, Texas, has the location and the need for an economic boost. NPR looks at the prospect of a spaceport on the southern tip of Texas.