The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis faces unprecedented charges after the attorney for Ramsey County Minnesota filed both criminal and civil charges against the archdiocese for “failing to protect children” from a former priest. Curtis Wehmeyer was pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul. In 2012 he was convicted of sexually abusing the two sons of a church employee, despite previous reports of troubling behavior levied against him and ignored by his superiors. He is serving 5 years for the conviction, but also faces charges in Wisconsin for abusing another young man on a camping trip.
“Today we are alleging a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior committed by the highest levels of leadership of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the course of decades,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.
“By filing criminal charges and taking civil action, we are holding the archdiocese accountable for its failure to responsibly and meaningfully respond to numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct by Curtis Wehmeyer.”
The archdiocese faces charges of 6 gross misdemeanors, which carry a fine of $3000 each. In prior cases charges have been brought against individual leaders in Roman Catholic dioceses. This is the most severe case brought against a Roman Catholic diocese. In a prior case, the Diocese of Cincinnati was found guilty of failure to report abuse.
The case against the archdiocese was the result of a whistleblower, the former canon lawyer, Jennifer Haselberger, reported Wehmeyer’s abuse to the police in 2012. She later exposed the archdiocese’s pattern of covering up priests who abused and giving them new church appointments.
Photo ”Cathedral of St Paul” by Rx StrangeLove Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Posted by David Allen