Judge Says Hibbing Priest Will Face Felony Charges
By Dave Strandberg
December 3, 2015
A Minnesota district judge has refused to drop felony charges against a Catholic priest from Hibbing who's accused of sexually abusing girls. Sixth District Judge David Ackerson says the state has enough evidence to send the case of 30-year-old Brian Lederer to a trial. He's charged with seven counts of sexual assault and child pornography possession. Not-guilty pleas have been entered in the case, and a pre-trial conference is set for December 24th. Investigators accuse Lederer of touching breasts and sexual organs of girls age-10-to-14 over their clothes. They also said the priest had at least five images of apparent child porn in a computer. Prosecutors say various descriptions of the incidents lead to "sexual or aggressive intent." Lederer's attorney calls the charges overzealous, saying they're in response to larger sex abuse allegations by Catholic priests.