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Archbishop 'didn't know' child sex was crime

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In a deposition, Archbishop Robert Carlson said he was unsure if it was a crime if priests had sex with children.  (Source: CNN) In a deposition, Archbishop Robert Carlson said he was unsure if it was a crime if priests had sex with children. (Source: CNN)

ST. LOUIS (CNN) - The current archbishop of St. Louis says he was unsure if a priest having sex with a child was a crime back when he was auxiliary bishop in the Twin Cities.

The comments by Archbishop Robert Carlson came in a deposition taken in May but released Monday.

It's part of a lawsuit against a Minnesota priest. Carlson is not a party to the lawsuit.

Matt Karis shook his head after watching the deposition on a phone.

He was raised to believe in the Catholic religion, but he says he doesn't believe that the St. Louis archbishop didn't know it was a crime for a priest to have sex with a child.

Carlson served as Chancellor of the Twin Cities archdiocese in the 1980's.

Carlson said under oath that he couldn't recall details about how he handled allegations of abuse against a Minnesota priest.

He also said he never went to authorities after that priest admitted in 1984 that he engaged in criminal sexual contact with a minor.

"It's just disgusting," Karis said.

Despite criticism, attorney Art Margulis says a defense attorney could try to make sense of Carlson's deposition by saying he truly didn't know what constitutes a crime.

"It's quite possible that the archbishop may not have known all of the facts concerning what's been described as a sexual assault," Margulis said.

The archdiocese of St. Louis released a statement Monday.

It says the archbishop did make it clear in the deposition that he knows child sex abuse is a crime today.

And he also goes on in the deposition to call pedophilia an "egregious offense."

Copyright 2014 KSDK, ARCHBISHOP OF ST. LOUIS, LEGAL DEPOSITION FROM ATTORNEY JEFF ANDERSON via CNN. All rights reserved.

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