Catholic church leaders in Minnesota were investigated by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), who alleges that the church embezzled funds to cover child abuse and other misconduct with church cash, sources in the Twin Cities report.
The investigation cited internal church documents to make
their case that leaders of the Catholic church, such as the Archdiocese
in the Twin Cites (Minneapolis/Saint Paul), paid millions of dollars to
keep secrets quiet.
MPR reported that the church had several secret accounts that led to
financial abuse in the system. The accounts were used for payoffs for
people like Rev. Stanley Kozlak, who fathered a child.
payoffs for rent and living until he reached the age to retire on social
The internal documents in the church indicate that
part of the agreement held that Kozlak would still be a priest, the
Archbishop would have to sign a letter that states Kozlak isn’t a
pedophile and that there would be negotiated child support.
course of nine years, from 2002 to 2011, the accounts had been used
repeatedly and paid out around $11 million. That amounts to about three
percent of revenue for that time period.
The efforts by the Catholic church to deal with clergy problems is
staggering. Money was used to quietly allow some to leave their
ministries. This strategy proved to be the back door to embezzlement
within their secretly constructed financial system.
Legal costs and
therapy were also listed expenditures. In one instance, a private
investigator was hired and paid more than $1o0,000 the Rochester Post
Bulletin reported via Associated Press (AP).
The Minnesota Catholic
church leaders investigated appeared to have decided it was easier to
cover up the problems with cash, but other abuse followed and it proved
to be an expensive strategy.
The archdiocese made a statement on Thursday to address news of the
investigation by MPR. They said they already hired a new CFO in December
of 2012 to improve transparency, according to the report in the Post
There are no government regulators that the Catholic church
leaders are accountable to and the archbishop can spend money how he
sees fit. There is a council that advises him, however. There will be a
full audit completed by February.
MPR investigated to find that these payments, referred to as
“disability” in the ledger account, were paid to victims and clergy. MPR
reported a culture that kept many secrets within the walls of the
One accountant already pleaded guilty to stealing
around $650,000 in cash from the church during these activities. He said
people there knew what questions not to ask.
The MPR report and investigation also reveals the plump and healthy
financial condition of the church, which has been infused with revenue
over a five-year time span.
Their operating revenue was up to around $40
million up to the point of 2011.
Cash levels and assets grew as well,
but now the Catholic church faces pressure from legal circumstances.
Minnesota Catholic church leaders tried to cover abuse with cash only
to find more abuse and the threat of losing that very cash.