One Chancery, Six Charges – Twin Cities Church Hit With Criminal Counts
Two years since a storm of revelations of abuse and cover-up began bearing down on the archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis, yesterday saw the tumult take yet another eruptive turn as the bankrupt Twin Cities church was institutionally charged with six "gross misdemeanors" of child endangerment stemming from its handling of a now-jailed and laicized cleric whose pattern of misconduct is alleged to have continued into 2011.continue at Whispers
Nearly 13 years since the US bishops enacted the Dallas Charter and Norms to mandate stringent safe-environment provisions as the church's national law, the latest criminal proceeding over post-2002 lapses centers on the case of Curtis Wehmeyer, a thrice-convicted abuser ordained in 2001 and removed from ministry in mid-2012 following years of concerns expressed to archdiocesan officials.
After pleading guilty to a combined 20 abuse and child pornography counts later in 2012, Wehmeyer was dismissed from the clerical state by the Vatican earlier this year.
In a 44-page presentment that veers between graphic disclosures of Wehmeyer's conduct and a detailed timeline of the Chancery responses to alarms sounded over the priest's activity – including a 2004 incident where he solicited young men for sex in a Barnes & Noble bookstore – Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the findings amounted to "a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior committed by the highest levels of leadership of the archdiocese... over the course of decades."