Ex-Hastings priest charged with assaulting boy

By Adrienne Broaddus
May 21, 2014

[with video]

MINNEAPOLIS - Years have passed but the memories haven't faded. A man, now in his 30s, told investigators in Dakota County he was sexually abused by former catholic priest Francis Hoefgen from the spring of 1989 to the fall of 1991. Wednesday, Hoefgen was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree in Dakota County.

The victim, a former altar boy, said the repeated abuse started when he was nine and ended when he was 12. He told investigators he was inappropriately touched and penetrated. After suffering in silence, police said the victim came forward in November of 2013.

"It is not surprising that the victim in this case waited over 20 years to report this matter to the Hastings Police Department," Prosecutor James Backstrom said. "Most child victims of sexual crimes repress the troubling memories of their abuse for many years."

Backstrom is asking other victims to come forward.

"It is not easy to investigate a case that happened 20-25 years ago. Times have changed and people's memories fade," Backstrom said. "This particular incident, the descriptions of where this happened and how it happened were pretty specific."

This isn't the first time Hoefgen has been accused of abuse. Records show Father Hoefgen admitted to molesting another boy in Stearns County before he was reassigned to Hastings. No criminal charges were filed. Instead, he was sent to St. Luke's Treatment Center. The following year, he was reassigned to the Hastings parish- Saint Boniface. The church merged with Guardian Angels and was renamed Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Hoefgen was also sued last fall by Attorney Jeff Anderson. Anderson is trying to hold St. John's Abbey and the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul responsible for reassigning a known child molester.

Backstrom said the current statute of limitations for anyone accused of sexually abusing a minor does not expire until three years after the victims report of the incident to law enforcement, regardless of how many years have gone by from the time the actual abuse occurred.

Hoefgen has not made any statements regarding this case. His next court appearance is scheduled for August 11 at 1:30 p.m. in Dakota County.


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