Archbishop "Not Sure" If He Knew Child Rape Was a Crime

In a deposition released Monday, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson claimed he's not sure if he knew having sex with a child was a crime in the 1980s when he was the auxiliary bishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul. "I understand today it's a crime," he said.

Carlson's deposition is part of an ongoing sex abuse lawsuit involving the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona, Minn. The plaintiff in the case, "Doe 1," claims to have been sexually abused by a priest in the 1970s at a church in St. Paul. Carlson never reported any sex crimes during his time as auxiliary bishop, but he says he did encourage parents to report an incident once. During the deposition, he explained,

I think in everything we do, once we've experienced it, we reflect on our actions and we ask what we can do better. I think we did a pretty good job.

After attorney Jeff Anderson pressed Carlson, asking again if he really didn't know child rape was a crime, Carlson blamed his memory issues ("I'm not sure if I did or didn't") on cancer.

I can't make either a psychological or a physical diagnosis, other than to say I have had seven cancer surgeries. Each time, I received some kind of chemical to put me out for that. If that's impeded my memory or not, I have no idea.

You can read the full transcript of the deposition, courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, here.

[Image via AP]