Attorney Releases Files on Archdiocese's "Most Abusive Priest"
By Megan Stewart
September 16, 2014
Files detailing child abuse accusations against another local priest were released Tuesday an attorney.
The reports against the late Father Louis Heitzer are the latest piece of the ongoing accusations that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis failed to protect children.
Heitzer was referred to as "perhaps the most abusive priest ever to be part of this Archdiocese," in one file. The files were released by attorney Jeff Anderson on Tuesday.
The files detail meetings with families and church leaders and Heitzer's continued involvement in Twin Cities churches within the archdiocese, the Diocese of Crookston and the Diocese of New Ulm.
Heitzer was ordained in 1942 and worked at several parishes in Minnesota, including Winsted, St. Paul, Marshall, Sleepy Eye, Olivia, Winthrop and Forest Lake. He died in 1969.
The archdiocese issued a response saying the release of the files follows its newly outlined goals of being transparent to the public:
Documents from the priest file of Louis Heitzer given to the court earlier this year were released today by Jeff Anderson and Associates. This release is in the interest of public disclosure and accountability.
The archdiocese received reports of sexual abuse of minors by Heitzer prior to Heitzerís death in 1969. Between 1991 and 2004 the archdiocese received additional reports of Heitzerís sexual abuse of minors decades earlier.
The archdioceseís goal is to help victims/survivors of minor clergy abuse and their families heal. The archdiocese recognizes that the healing process is unique for each person and family. The archdiocese, however, has come to understand that for many people it is important to know that abuse will not happen again. Verbal assurance will not suffice; concrete action is necessary. The archdiocese will continue to develop concrete steps such as new procedures to address reports of abuse. Another such step is public disclosure of the identity and assignment history of the clergy member against whom accusations of sexual abuse of a minor have been substantiated. Heitzerís assignment history was first released by the archdiocese in December of last year and is now updated with additional assignment information for 1967 up to his death in 1969.