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Should Archbishop Nienstedt Step Down During Investigation?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The fallout continues Wednesday over the news that Archbishop John Nienstedt is under investigation for sexual misconduct.

While the archbishop denies the allegations, the Twin Cities Archdiocese says it has hired an outside firm to investigate the claims.

Both parties say the accusations do not involve illegal activity or sex acts with children.

According to a former top Nienstedt aide, the claims involve allegations of sexual misconduct with men.

Outside the Basilica of St. Mary's noon mass, we found supporters of the archbishop like Joyce Borealino.

"It just makes me so angry that these allegations would even come up," Borealino said. "The archbishop is a great man."

And we found critics, like Sharon Link.

"I'm not surprised," Link said

She says she's always been troubled by the archbishop's crusade against gay marriage.

"He just went out of his way to talk about gay priests and … gay everybody," she said.

In a 2010 DVD sent to all Catholic households in Minnesota, Archbishop Nienstedt urged a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage be put on the ballot.

"The future of this great social institution should not be decided by a ruling elite, but by the people of Minnesota," said Nienstedt in the DVD.

Professor Charles Reid of the University of St. Thomas teaches church law. He says the archbishop should step aside during the current on-going investigation.

"He should voluntarily recuse himself, step aside, let the process unfold," Reid said.

He says he takes issue with Archbishop Nienstedt's statement that the allegations involve no illegal activity.

"It is illegal if it's true. It's a violation of cannon law. It's a violation of the church's prohibition on priests and bishops having sex with anyone," he said.

Father Mike Tegeder is a Minneapolis priest and a long-time critic of Nienstedt.

"I'm very concerned about the state of the diocese," Tegeder said.

He also says the archbishop should step aside during the investigation.

"That's the policy that he applies to other priests and deacons," he said.

WCCO did reach out to the archdiocese to see if they could provide anyone to respond to the fallout from these allegations. They said no one was available.

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