Former Catholic priest in Hastings to be charged with sexual abuse

By Chad Richardson
Hastings Star Gazette
May 21, 2014

A former Catholic priest in Hastings was charged Wednesday in Dakota County with sexual abuse, County Attorney James Backstrom announced.

Francis Hoefgen was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with allegations that he "repeatedly sexually abused a former altar boy at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings from the spring of 1989 to the fall of 1991," according to a news release issued by Backstrom. During the time of the alleged abuse, the boy was between 9 and 12 years old.

The alleged victim reported the abuse to Hastings police in November.

The sexual abuse consisted of acts of “oral penetration, anal penetration and touching of (the victim’s) genitals,” according to the criminal complaint.

Hoefgen, 63, is living in Columbia Heights.

He served at St. Boniface in Cold Spring from 1980 until 1984. While in Cold Spring, he admitted to sexually abusing a boy. He was sent to Maryland for treatment and then, less than a year after returning to Minnesota, he came to Hastings.

Hoefgen was removed from the ministry in 2002.

Hoefgen will make his next appearance in Dakota County District Court Aug. 11. He made his first court appearance Wednesday before Judge Arlene Perkkio.

At a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer said the alleged victim is now in his mid 30s and no longer lives in Hastings.

Backstrom said: "It is not surprising that it took more than 20 years for the victim to report the alleged abuse. Victims usually repress the abuse, have troubling memories and often feel guilty.”



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.