Crookston diocese settles bishop coercion claim

Minnesota Public Radio

September 29, 2017

By Martin Moylan

A Minnesota man has settled his claim that Bishop Michael Hoeppner coerced him into retracting an allegation of clergy sexual abuse against a priest in the Crookston diocese.

Ron Vasek, of Tabor Township, Minn., said the abuse occurred in 1971. He said that in 2010, while he contemplated becoming a deacon in the diocese, he told the bishop he’d been abused by a priest. In his lawsuit, filed in Polk County District Court, Vasek claimed the bishop coerced him to sign a letter asserting that no abuse ever happened.

Vasek said Hoeppner warned him that refusing to sign would hurt his dream of becoming a church deacon and impair the career of his son, who was a diocese priest.

Attorney Mike Finnegan said Vasek got a copy of the letter and an undisclosed monetary settlement this week.

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