From Friday's Omaha newspaper:Archbishop Curtiss of Omaha may face witness tampering charges
Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss could be charged with witness tampering after a conversation with a Catholic school kindergarten teacher, Madison County Attorney Joe Smith said Thursday.
After meeting teacher Linda Hammond and learning that she was responsible for alerting authorities to a priest who allegedly viewed child pornography on a computer, Curtiss reportedly told her that she should resign.
"I remember ... walking down Madison Avenue and thinking this didn't go the way I thought it would," Hammond said.
....The incident took place nine days ago after Curtiss celebrated a morning Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Norfolk for students at Sacred Heart School.
Hammond said she introduced herself to Curtiss near the sanctuary. He did not recognize her name until she told him, "I was the one who went to the police about Father Allgaier."
The Rev. Robert Allgaier is a former Norfolk priest who faces trial in June on a misdemeanor count of attempted possession of child pornography.
Hammond said Curtiss replied: "I'm sorry you did this. You shouldn't have done this. We had it handled. You ruined a man's life."
She said Curtiss told her that Allgaier probably would never serve as a priest again and added, "I'd appreciate it if you'd resign."
Hammond said she told Curtiss that she didn't appreciate the way he was talking to her. Curtiss told her to resign as least one more time during the few minutes they talked. There were two adult witnesses, Hammond said.
Hammond said she told Curtiss that she alerted police last October because of her concern for the safety of children. Curtiss did not respond to that comment, she said.
Hammond alerted authorities that two former Sacred Heart students had found evidence in January 2001 that indicated Allgaier viewed child pornography on a church computer. Court records said Allgaier admitted to Curtiss in February 2001 that he had viewed child pornography up to four times a week, for several hours each time.
Curtiss removed Allgaier from his teaching duties at Norfolk Catholic High School and ordered him to abstain from contact with children outside worship services. The church had Allgaier evaluated by a psychologist, and the priest entered counseling.
In June, Curtiss transferred Allgaier to St. Gerald's Catholic Church in Ralston, where the priest's duties included teaching religion at St. Joan of Arc-St. Gerald Middle School in Omaha. He remained at the Ralston parish until he was arrested in February and charged.
Read that over and over again, my friends. The archbishop was told of the priest's intense viewing of child pornography on a church computer. He sent him for a bit of counseling. Then he put him back in ministry which included teaching at a middle school.And then he tells the good, brave woman who called the priest on his sins that she's done something wrong.
Time to clean house. Deeply, seriously and thoroughly.