A former Minnesota priest has been charged with sexual assault in connection with an incident in December 2020.
Ubaldo Roque Huerta, 50, of Rushmore, has been charged with one count of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct over the incident at his home, with the alleged victim a friend he'd met when he was a priest.
Huerta was formally ordained a priest for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester in June 2008, though the Diocese says Huerta has not been an active member of the Diocese since 2018 and his faculties were suspended in November 2019.
At the time of the incident, the Diocese had been actively working toward his laicization – his official removal from the clergy. The charges were officially filed against Huerta on Aug. 11, 2022.
The victim stated they needed to seek medical treatment for rectal pain after the incident.
According to the criminal complaint:
On or about Dec. 13-14, 2020, Huerta got together with "a friend" in Winona County. The victim had known Huerta when he was a priest. The two hadn't seen each other in about three years, with Huerta texting to say he wanted to get drinks sometime.
Huerta told the victim that he wanted it to just be them together, because he "was a priest and did not want others to see him drink."
According to the complaint, Huerta and said friend each drank a bottle of tequila. The victim recalls being "very drunk," and at one point ended up wearing only boxers, and thinks Huerta had something to do with that.
At one point, the victim told Huerta that they needed to throw up and went to the bathroom. Huertas kept following the victim around the house, despite being told to stop.
Huertas then followed the victim into the bedroom, where he performed penetrative and oral acts. When the victim confronted Huerta about what he did, Huertas denied it all.
Huerta provided ministry for Hispanic communities within the Diocese. They were:
- The Cathedral of Sacred Heart and the Saint Casimir in Winona
- Saint Charles Borromeo in Saint Charles
- Saint Aloysius in Elba
- Holy Redeemer in Eyota
- Saint Francis of Assisi in Rochester
"The Diocese has been working and cooperating with law enforcement regarding the allegations in this serious matter. The Diocese prays for the healing of all who have been abused and encourages anyone who has been victimized or assaulted to immediately report it to law enforcement. Abused persons are not at fault, and deserve proper care in their recovery," the Diocese said in a statement.
Huerta is expected to make his first court appearance on Sept. 8. If convicted, Huerta faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.