2 Minn. Priests on Leave Pending Review
By Megan Stewart
December 29, 2013
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has placed two priests on leave following a review of clergy files conducted by an outside firm hired by the Archdiocese.
On Sunday, the Archdiocese announced in a statement that Father Mark Wehmann and Father Joseph Gallatin have agreed to take a leave of absence after their files were reviewed by a consulting firm specializing in investigative support for faith-based organizations.
Wehmann was placed on leave after the firm found several incidents of inappropriate conduct with minors. According to the statement, the Archdiocese notified law enforcement about most of the incidents in the past and determined no criminal charges were appropriate.
The Archdiocese recently informed law enforcement about the remaining issues, the statement said.
Wehmann has been serving as a pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis since July and, until recently, was a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital.
The firm also identified an incident of inappropriate conduct involving Gallatin, who has been serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota since July 2008, the Archdiocese said in a statement.
The outside professional review team has concluded the incident with Gallatin did not involve a crime. The Archdiocese recently informed law enforcement about the incident.
Both men will remain pastors, but will not perform any public ministry until a final review is complete.
Father Gallatin told parishioners during a homily on Sunday that over 15 years ago, he had inappropriate contact with a minor. Gallatin said he hopes the review is thorough and quick.
Many parishioners said the investigation is necessary to clear the air.
"God is in charge and if Jesus wants me as his instrument, he will bring me back," Father Gallatin, a graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall High School, said.
Additional disclosures will be made on an ongoing basis as the review of over 400 files continues and as further claims are made known, according to the Archdiocese.
The review of priests in active ministry began on Dec. 8 by Kinsale Management, the Archdiocese said in a statement regarding Harry Walsh. Once this segment of the file review for active ministry is complete, the next segment will begin with the review of files of clergy who are no longer in ministry.