Archbishop accused of misconduct steps down in Battle Creek

A courtesy photo of Archbishop Emeritus John Nienstedt, who will be filling in at St. Philip Parish in Battle Creek for a few months.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – An archbishop formerly accused, but not charged, with covering up sexual misconduct has removed himself from a temporary position with the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Bishop Paul Bradley wrote in a letter to parishioners that Archbishop Emeritus John Nienstedt, who was set to volunteer at St. Phillip Parish in Battle Creek, had decided to discontinue pastoral assistance due to concerns in the community.

St. Philip Catholic Church in Battle Creek.
St. Philip Catholic Church in Battle Creek.

The archbishop was supposed to volunteer in Battle Creek for about six months while Father John Fleckenstein, a priest in the parish, dealt with health issues.

Nienstedt resigned from the Archdiocese of St. Paul in Minneapolis in 2015 after receiving several accusations of a cover-up. He was never charged.

But in the letter to parishioners, Bishop Bradley wrote that even though the diocese had followed protocol and had conducted background checks, “It quickly became clear to me as the issue evolved that I had not anticipated well enough the emotional factors.”

He added that he “should have foreseen the full impact and strong emotional reaction to [Nienstedt’s] presence in the Diocese.”

Bishop Bradley did not mention any word about a replacement for Nienstedt.



Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly named Fleckenstein in the second to last sentence in the story, instead of Nienstedt, to whom Bishop Bradley was referring in his letter. The error has been corrected.

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