Another Guilty Plea

By Jennifer Haselberger
Canonical Consultation
August 18, 2015

Last Friday, Curtis Wehmeyer, once a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, pleaded guilty to third degree sexual assault in Chippewa County, Wisconsin. Wehmeyer, who is currently serving a five-year sentence at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Lino Lakes, was sentenced to an additional three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Sadly, Friday's guilty plea and sentencing arose from charges that in 2011 Wehmeyer sexually assaulted a teenage boy after the teen had passed out after drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana provided to him by Wehmeyer. The teen victim is the older brother of the two victims who were abused beginning in 2010. 

Those who have been following the abuse cases involving Wehmeyer will recall that in May of 2011, presumably before the camping trip in Wisconsin, Father Kevin McDonough disregarded my warning that Wehmeyer's parishes had not been informed of his sexual issues. The memo from McDonough to Father Laird and Tim Rourke, the monitor assigned by the Archdiocese to oversee sexually abusive priests, arguing against the need for disclosure is one of the most damning aspects of this tragedy. The mother of the victims was an employee of the parish at which Wehmeyer served.

The Archdiocese is currently facing six misdemeanor charges in Ramsey County arising from their mishandling of the situation with Father Wehmeyer and is expected to make a first appearance in this matter later this month. One can only hope that Archdiocesan leadership takes a cue from the former priest and enters a guilty plea. However, that seems unlikely as all indications are that the Archdiocese intends to fight the charges, meaning that it may be a very difficult year for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.


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