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Investigators access to clergy abuse files limited

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2010 file photo, Archbishop John C. Nienstedt talks about the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis at his office in St. Paul, Minn. Recent allegations of sexual misconduct uncovered by Jennifer Haselberger, the former archdiocese’s chancellor for canonical affairs, have the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese playing defense. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig, File)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A task force charged with independently investigating clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will have limited access to information about priests.

In a recent letter to clergy, the Rev. Reginald Whitt said he will control the panel's access to information about clergy abuse, which will be "limited only to what is necessary" for the task force to make informed decisions.

Archbishop John Nienstadt, who appointed Whitt to create the task force, earlier characterized the panel's work as an independent review of clergy abuse. Nienstadt told Minnesota Public Radio the task force would have "unprecedented authority to examine any and all issues associated with clergy sexual abuse."

Archdiocese spokesman Jim Accurso added the panel "will provide a truly independent analysis from a group of outside and impartial experts."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.