Archdiocese, jailed priest faced with civil suit in sex abuse case


A day after the Ramsey County attorney announced there was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the sex abuse case involving Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer, the archdiocese is now facing a civil lawsuit related to the former St. Paul priest.

The Pioneer Press reports the suit naming both the archdiocese and Wehmeyer was filed on behalf of an unidentified youth, "Doe 31." The lawsuit claims the archdiocese knew the priest posed a risk to children yet failed to protect Doe.

Wehmeyer is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for molesting two boys in a St. Paul church parking lot in 2010 and also possessing child pornography.

St. Paul police and the Ramsey County Attorney's Office had been investigating whether the archdiocese failed to report the abuse to authorities within 24 hours of learning about it. Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced Wednesday that there is not enough evidence to show that the archdiocese violated the state's mandatory reporting law.

However, Minnesota Public Radio says it obtained a new document – a formal decree signed by Archbishop John Nienstedt – after Choi's announcement that says the archdiocese knew of the allegations against Wehmeyer on June 18, 2012 – two days before it was reported to police.

Choi's top prosecutors say they've never seen the document, MPR reports. St. Paul Police Commander Mary Nash said she's have to review the case file before answering questions about any documents.

An investigation by Minnesota Public Radio in September revealed that the archdiocese knew of Wehmeyer's other alleged sexual compulsions for nearly a decade before he was sentenced to prison for the 2010 case.

Next Up