Crookston priest accused of sexual abuse speaks out about allegations

Duluth News

Sept. 23, 2019

By Tess Williams

A distinguished clergy member accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy at the Diocese of Crookston about 40 years ago has broken his silence to deny the allegations.

“I am at last free to defend myself, my reputation and the church I have devoted to serving,” Monsignor Roger Grundhaus wrote in a statement to the Grand Forks Herald.

The diocese settled 15 lawsuits, including the one naming Grundhaus, in July. An investigation on Bishop Michael Hoeppner was launched last week by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to look into claims that Hoeppner covered up abuse.

In his written statement and a subsequent telephone interview, Grundhaus denied the claims against him. He takes issue with the timeline given by the victim, Ron Vasek, and said he was close with Vasek and his family for many years after the alleged abuse.

Vasek said it comes as no surprise that Grundhaus denies the allegations and said the priest’s story “is a flat-out lie.”

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