Archdiocese Removes, Reports Priest Accused in Abuse
By Leah Beno
My Fox Twin Cities
June 26, 2012
St. Paul Police are investigating a local priest accused of abusing a boy for the past two years.
Last Tuesday, a spokesman for Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says it was brought to their attention that Reverend Curtis Wehmeyer maybe abusing a boy within the church. The next day, the church spoke with the victim. By Thursday, St. Paul police were investigating.
"We have been in complete communication with the Archdiocese and they have cooperated to this point," said Howie Padilla, St. Paul police spokesman.
According to the police report, the victim claims Wehmeyer has been sexually assaulting him for two years. To complicate things further, the boy's mother also works for the church.
The Archdiocese says Wehmeyer was ordained in 2001. In 2011, when the Church of St. Thomas of the Apostle merged with the Blessed Sacrament, Wehmeyer was put in charge of both churches. Up until Thursday, Wehmeyer lived at the Blessed Sacrament. The church moved him out on Thursday, the day before he was arrested by police.
Mary LaChapelle considers herself a devote Catholic. Her husband helped build St. Thomas of the Apostle, but she does not know Wehmeyer. LaChapelle left the church years ago and says news of Wehmeyer's arrest is another example why.
"I don't know what they are doing in the seminary and how they are vetting these young men coming in, but I am disgusted," said LaChapelle. "I would like to see the church stop protecting these priests and clean house… Then I would consider going back."
Statement from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis:
Archbishop John Nienstedt has removed the pastor of Blessed Sacrament parish in St. Paul, Reverend Curtis Wehmeyer, after learning of allegations that the priest had engaged in misconduct involving a minor. Following archdiocesan policy, the Archdiocese immediately reported the allegations to the police, and an investigation into the allegations was begun. The Archdiocese is cooperating fully with police in their investigation.
Pending the outcome of the investigation, Father Wehmeyer is prohibited from exercising any ministry in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. He is no longer in residence at Blessed Sacrament.
Another priest will be appointed to Blessed Sacrament to provide for parishioners' sacramental and pastoral needs.
Anyone having knowledge of misconduct within a parish should call the proper authorities and is encouraged to notify the Archdiocese at 651.291.4497.
The Archdiocese deeply regrets the pain caused by clergy misconduct or by others within the Church. The Archdiocese is offering its support and assistance to all concerned.