MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A FOX 9 investigation into former Archbishop John Nienstedt's past has been honored with a regional Murrow Award for investigative reporting.
The story uncovered how 40 years ago, as a young priest, Nienstedt failed to protect a child in his own family who was allegedly abused by his best friend, a fellow priest. That priest, Fr. Sam Ritchey, would go on to abuse at least three other boys.
The victim, the son of Nienstedt's cousin, told the FOX 9 Investigators how Nienstedt introduced Fr. Ritchey to the family, and how Nienstedt, an ambitious priest on a career fast track, failed to acknowledge the sexual abuse or report it to law enforcement or church authorities.
Nienstedt's failure to address the sexual abuse allegations in his own family, and his cold and calculated response to the family decades later, would foreshadow his failure to adequately address the sexual abuse crisis in the church. Nienstedt resigned from the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis in June 2015 while it was under criminal investigation and in bankruptcy.
Tom Lyden previously won a regional Murrow Award in 2015 for his coverage of Minnesota cult leader Victor Barnard. That story led to an international manhunt for Barnard, his capture and extradition back to the U.S. to face criminal charges. Barnard is currently serving 30 years in prison.