Former priest sex abuse case goes to trial in Hastings

By Allen Costantini
May 20, 2015

[with video]

HASTINGS, Minn. – After two days of questioning of prospective jurors, a jury of six men and eight women, including two alternates, was seated in the trial of a former priest. Francis Hoefgen, 64, is charged with First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct involving an altar boy in a Hastings parish.

Hoefgen, who was a monk at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, was also a priest at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Hastings in 1989-1991, when the alleged assaults occurred. The victim, who is now 36 years old, was a 4th grader when the alleged illegal conduct began and continued for two years.

Prosecutor Paul Beaumaster, Assistant Dakota County Attorney, told the jury in his opening statement that Hoefgen had "violated the trust and the body" of the boy. Beaumaster said the priest/child relationship progressed "to oral penetration and anal penetration" and only ended with Hoefgen left Hastings.

The name of the alleged molestation victim was mentioned in court, but KARE 11 is not revealing it, since he is an alleged rape victim.

Defense attorney Michael Colich told the jury that the case "might be heart-wrenching, but the only decision you will make with be not guilty."

Testimony in the trial is to begin Thursday morning before Judge Thomas Pugh.


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