By Raya Zimmerman
Two priests from Catholic churches in Minneapolis and Mendota are taking leaves of absence after a review of files revealed previous cases of inappropriate conduct with minors.
The priests were identified in a statement Sunday by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis as the Rev. Joseph Gallatin from the Church of St. Peter in Mendota and the Rev. Mark Wehmann from St. Boniface Catholic Church in Minneapolis. A consulting firm that has been reviewing diocesan files identified the incidents.
Gallatin, who has been serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Peter since July 2008, was found to have had one incident of inappropriate conduct with a minor several years ago that involved a “boundary violation.” The incident did not involve a crime, the consulting firm said.
Wehmann, who has served as a pastor at St. Boniface since July 2013, was also found to have had inappropriate conduct with minors, but in several cases. The consulting firm said law enforcement had been informed about “most of these” in the past, and no criminal charges were filed. The archdiocese recently informed law enforcement about the remaining incidents. Until recently, Wehmann was a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis.
Since this fall, the archdiocese has faced harsh criticism for failing to expose clergy who sexually abused children and for allegedly covering up cases. Earlier this month, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a list of 34 priests “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children in decades prior. Los Angeles-based Kinsale Management Consulting has been conducting an ongoing review of all clergy files since mid-November.
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