Judge begins decision process in suit against Crookston diocese, bishop

Duluth News Tribune

By Andrew Hazzard

CROOKSTON, Minn. — A northwest Minnesota judge has until Dec. 19, 2017, to rule on a lawsuit accusing the Diocese of Crookston and its bishop of covering up abuse and inflicting emotional damages on a man who says his bid to become a deacon was rejected because he reported being sexually abused by a priest more than 40 years ago.

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, Minnesota Ninth District Court Judge Kurt Marben took under advisement a lawsuit from Tabor, Minn., resident Ron Vasek against the Diocese of Crookston and Bishop Michael Joseph Hoeppner. This gives him 90 days to make a decision in the case, according to the Polk County Clerk of Court’s Office, meaning a ruling is due by Dec. 19.

The lawsuit accuses Hoeppner of coercion and inflicting emotional distress. It says that in 1971, Vasek was sexually abused by Monsignor Roger Grundhaus while on a trip to Ohio when he was 16 years old. In 2010, his son, the Rev. Craig Vasek, was ordained as priest in the Diocese of Crookston, and Ron Vasek tried to become a deacon. That’s when he claims he revealed his abuse and was told by Hoeppner to stay quiet, which he believes is an act of blackmail.

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