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  New Abuse Allegation Targets St. Peter's

By Branden Peterson
Forest Lake Times
July 24, 2002

A listening session at St. Peter's Church in Forest Lake on June 25 uncovered three former priests with accusations of sexual abuse.

Theodore Krammer Jr., 34, of Columbus, filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and priest Rev. Lee D. Krautkremer last Tuesday, July 16.

Krammer alleges he was molested in 1977 when he was a 10-year-old alter boy at St. Peteris Church. He claims he was abused on a weekend trip to Krautkremer's cabin in Wisconsin.

Krautkremer served at St. Peter's parish from 1976-1979.

Krammer says it took six years before he was able to tell his parents of the abuse that had plagued his mind for so long.

"It's like a disease or a poison that sits inside of you that you don't know what to do with. Especially when you're ten and you don't know what to do."

After hearing the story, Krammer's family then notified the archdiocese leaders of the abuse in 1983.

Krammer decided to step forward after learning Krautkremer was absent from the list of known abusers of St. Peter's clergy.

He is deeply dissatisfied with the archdioceseis reaction to his allegations.

"They knew. Why the hell wasn't he on that list of abusers, that's the question, because we met with the archdiocese, we talked to them and said "look, he did this."

"They knew and they covered it up." Krammer said in an interview with the Forest Lake Times.

A written statement by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis "strenuously" denies the allegations of Krammer.

Father Bob Sipe of St. Peter's issued a statement on behalf of St. Peters in regards to Mr. Krammer's allegations.

"We were shocked when we heard of the allegations by Ted Krammer. We feel bad for Ted and his family.

"We had no knowledge of the alleged abuse prior to the listening session when Father Krautkremer's name came up.

"We are happy people are coming forward, and we encourage others to step forward as well."

Father Sipe also said he contacted archdiocese offices the following day after the listening session June 25.

The Forest Times received a FAX on Tuesday stating Krautkremer served the archdiocese from 1966 to last March.

After Krautkremer left St. Peter's, he served at St. Joseph's Church in Lino Lakes for three years. He next served at St. Michael's Church in St. Michael until 1987.

He later went on to serve at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, before being removed from parish work in 1988 by the archdiocese. He was then assigned to North Memorial Hospital in 1989.

Krautkremer was asked by the archdiocese to resign and retire in March. He resigned his chaplain assignment April 15, 2002.

The archdiocese says Krautkremer no longer has an active role in ministry.

Krammer speaks

Theodore Krammer is no longer involved with St. Peter's, but is still concerned other victims are yet to step forward.

"I always wondered. Once you're abused, you think there's got to be someone else. From day one I wondered.

"You go to church, and you can't help but look around and wonder "did you go to the cabin? Did you do anything with him?"

Krammer is now glad he has decided to publicly disclose his story.

"You don't realize how many people are out there supporting you. It's very scary, prior to the press conference on Tuesday, you kind of think that you're alone with my family."

Thankful for the support he has received, Krammer credits attorney Jeff Anderson for introducing him to other sexual abuse victims stories.

"The stories they tell help you because you know they've been through this process. It's helpful, and you don't feel alone anymore."

Krammer marched with supporters Tuesday from Ramsey County District Court to the archdiocese offices.

Although archdiocese officials deny the allegations, they admit there may be a possible second complaint of abuse by Krautkremer in the 1980's.

Recognizing his story is one of many, Krammer believes the archdiocese needs to do more to help victims of abuse.

"I think the archdiocese has to get behind changing the statute of limitations."

The statute of limitations allows priests legal protection from litigation of sexual abuse.

"No one has to be accountable, no one has to have any responsibility...."

"The archdiocese, in my opinion, is saying well it's a good thing this law is here because we are able to hide a lot of secrets. Yes they are making some changes, but they aren't affected."

Krammer now looks for action against Krautkremer.

"All I want to see is Krautkremer held responsible for his actions. And I'd like to see him held responsible in a court of law of his actions, because he's a criminal. He was 25 years ago and he is today, he hasn't changed.

"I'd also like to see the archdiocese held accountable in the same fashion because even though they didn't commit the act, they drove the getaway car. When you hide it when you move somebody."

Encourages others

Krammer admits he is finally feeling relief from the abuse now that he has decided to come forward.

"I chose to do this because I can make more of an impact, and I don't feel like they can hurt me any more than I've already been hurt.

"It's really empowering to come forward and just say this happened to me but I'm dealing with it, and this is part of dealing with this and this is part of healing for me."

Krammer hopes he can be an example for other victims to come forward.

"I want to see other individuals come forward, and it doesn't have to be publicly. I just can't help but think that there are other people that I went to school with that this happened to and everyone kept their mouth shut."

"People have to have confidence and have the strength to tell (legal) counsel this. It's the only way changes are going to happen."

"I'm placed in a position to make an impact where someone says 'you know Ted, same thing happened to me' and talk to me about it. I'm so open to talk about it because I care, I understand, I know, I relate, I've been through it."

 
 

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