Former Northfield Priest on List of Clergy Accused of Abusing Minors

Jerome Kern served as a temporary administrator at St. Dominic's in Northfield in 1995.

Priests accused of sexual abuse of minors.
Priests accused of sexual abuse of minors.

With reporting from James Warden

A former Northfield clergyman is on a list of priests “credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors," according to an article in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis' newspaper, The Catholic Spirit.

The archdiocese published the list of 34 priests Thursday in the online edition of The Catholic Spirit, the newspaper that serves the archdiocese.

Jerome Kern, 72, served as a temporary administer at St. Dominic's in Northfield in 1995, and also held positions in other metro area religious institutions, according to the list. Kern was permanently removed from ministry in 2002, and is currently believed to be living in Edina.

About half of the parishes in the archdiocese—92 out of 188 parishes—had one of the priests on the list there at some point, according to the archdiocese.

The publication was made in response to ongoing lawsuits against priests and the church arising from childhood sexual abuse cases. The achdiocese and Diocese of Winona originally sought to seal the list—which was created in 2004 and included 33 of the 34 priests named today, according to the Star Tribune.

The courts agreed to seal the list in 2009. But Archbishop John Nienstedt reversed course after the church was accused of shielding priests—allegations that gained extra fuel in recent months from a Minnesota Public Radio exposé

The information being released comes mostly from reported incidents that occurred between the mid-1950s and 1980s, according to The Catholic Spirit.

“All have been permanently removed from ministry or are deceased,” the article said.

The church says it is engaged in a comprehensive review of clergy files and will update the list as it makes additional announcements.

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