Polka Priest Accused of Sexual Misconduct

United Press International
August 22, 1989

The Rev. Robert Kapoun, widely known in the Twin Cities as "the Polka Padre," has been accused in a civil suit of sexual misconduct with a 12-year-old boy who was a parishioner at St. Raphael's Catholic Church in Crystal 16 years ago.

Also accused was the Rev. Joseph Wajda. The young man -- now 28, who is identified in the lawsuits only by the initials "D.M." -- is seeking more than $50,000 from the priests, the church and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The suit alleges that in 1973 and 1974 Kapoun sexually abused the boy in Kapoun's office, in the church before mass, the rectory, at Kapoun's parents' home, his car and at the St. Paul Seminary. The young man was an altar boy at St. Raphael's and aparochial school student at the parish.

The other suit alleges that when the boy sought advice about his sexuality from Wajda, "Under the guise of providing therapy, guidance and counseling..." Wajda told him to "remove his clothing, expose his genitals and fondle himself."

Kapoun is accused of sexual battery and clergy malpractice. Wajda, who had been named earlier in a different sexual misconduct suit, is accused of clergy malpractice. The suit accused the archdiocese and the church with neglect for allowing the situation to continue.

Kapoun is known as the Polka Padre for leading church masses to polka music.

The Polka Padre and his Band is a popular feature at Catholic churches around the state.

Kapoun now is pastor at the Church of St. Scholastica near New Prague. Wajda is on personal leave, include evaluation and counseling, said Joan Bernet, archdiocean spokeswoman, who said the church takes the charges seriously.

"We'd like to restate our commitment to a thorough and quick response to allegations of victimization," she said. "We do take the charges seriously and we try to provide help to both victims and victimizers."


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