Priest Pleads Guilty to Sexual Misconduct during Private Mass in Mendota Heights
By S. M. Chavey
St. Paul Pioneer Press
January 24, 2018
A San Diego priest has admitted to sexual misconduct while celebrating a private Mass eight years ago in a woman’s Mendota Heights home.
He is an ordained Catholic priest currently on a leave of absence from the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, according to the Dakota County attorney’s office.
Jacob Andrew Bertrand, 35, pleaded guilty Monday to one charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The second count was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
In the summer of 2010, Bertrand “wore his stole, and had candles burning,” and the victim “straddled Bertrand while he performed the Sacrifice of the Mass,” according to the revised criminal complaint.
The two had previously kissed and Bertrand had “mystically proposed” to her, according to the criminal complaint.
The woman reported the conduct to Catholic Church officials in 2012 and 2014, and Bertrand was charged in 2016.
Clergy members can be charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with persons they’re not married to while being asked for or providing religious spiritual advice, even if the sex is consensual, according to Minnesota law.
His sentencing has been set for May.