Prosecutor cites ‘spirit of reform’ at Minnesota archdiocese

Washington Times

By STEVE KARNOWSKI – Associated Press – Thursday, October 29, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – A Minnesota archdiocese and prosecutors both made conciliatory statements Thursday after an initial hearing on criminal charges against the church over its handling of an abusive priest, and the judge said she understood the two were engaged in talks.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis didn’t enter a plea or send any leaders to appear at the brief hearing. Ramsey County Chief Judge Teresa Warner told Assistant County Attorney Tom Ring and archdiocese defense attorney Joe Dixon that she understood that discussions or negotiations were continuing, but gave no details. She scheduled the next court date for Nov. 30.

The archdiocese faces six gross misdemeanor counts of child endangerment for allegedly turning a blind eye to repeated misconduct by Curtis Wehmeyer, a now-imprisoned former priest at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, who was convicted of molesting two boys in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin.

Prosecutors say top church officials failed to respond to “numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct” by Wehmeyer, dating back to when he entered seminary in 1997 until he was defrocked in March.

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